Devotionals for Young Teens

All Things from God the Father, Through God the Son, By God the Holy Spirit

Day 1 of Camp Venango for Jesus -- July 2011

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  John 14:16-17

Good morning Camper!

Did you read that scripture verse? Do you understand it? Jesus is saying that he is going to ask his dad, father, GOD to give YOU the Holy Spirit. Wait a minute…who is YOU? I mean, who are you? Yeah, I’m talking to you. But Jesus is talking to his disciples, the guys who followed him around, the people who believed in him.

Are you like one of them – a believer and follower of Jesus? If not, let’s get that taken care of…

Here’s what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

·         #1 Know this – God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. If you want the wonderful life he’s got planned for you read on.
·         #2 God is perfect! But the bad news for you is – you’re not. You are a sinner (sorry to sound judgmental, but it just so happens we’re all sinners. Yeah, me too.) What can you do about that?
·         #3 Face it. Admit it. Be sorry for it. Ask God to forgive you. He is so happy to forgive us when we call out to his son, Jesus, who took the punishment for our sins, and died on the cross. Jesus gave his life for your sins! Tell him you’re sorry – and thank Him for dying for you and your sin.
·         #4 Ask Jesus to come into your life…and…and…I’m not telling the rest. The next part is my story, and it’s so cool. It’s so exciting. But you need your own story. Ask Jesus to come into your life and see what happens.
·         #5 If you do that today – tell a friend, tell a camp counselor, tell someone. If you’ve done that before – ditto – tell someone YOUR story!

So, what is it that comes from God? Oh… just…everything: You, me, the world around us. In the beginning God created everything and He called it all good. You can read about that in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

God created you, cares for you, and loves you. In fact, he lavishes his love on you. 1 John 3:1
says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” God the Father is a great dad. Can you feel the love? If you know him you’ll know his love.

Dear Father God, Dad in heaven,
How can I thank you enough for sending Jesus to die for my sins and for sending a helper, the Holy Spirit? I’ll thank you by loving you, listening to you, obeying your Word. With your help I’ll do my best. Thank you for loving me even though I’m so far from perfect. I can almost hear you say, “I love you.” You say it through all the beauty you created right here along French Creek, through the people here, friends and counselors. And, Heavenly Father I want to say… I love you back! Amen.

Day 4 A Lesson from Buzz Lightyear

Do you realize what an awesome God we have? He’s huge – bigger than we can ever imagine – infinitely big.

I am a Toy Story fan and one line in the movie makes me chuckle every time I hear it. Buzz clicks out his wings, stretches his arms, and says, “To infinity and beyond!” Did you laugh? I mean, really, there is no end to infinity, so how is Buzz going to go beyond it? Yeah well, that was before he knew that he was just a toy, a child’s plaything. His realization that he was just a toy was a sad moment in the movie. But when he accepted what he was, he became a better toy (and so much more likeable!).

It’s the same for us. When we realize who and what we are – little people (itsy-bitsy compared to God, as if there is any comparison), and sinners to boot. When we accept our short comings, weaknesses, smallness, and our sins, and acknowledge how great God is – we become better people.

Have you done this? (And it won’t hurt to do it again, today, tomorrow, for the rest of your life.) Thank God for his love and for sending Jesus to die in your place for your sins. Get saved from a life of meaningless toil. Get in touch with the help and power that is in you – the Holy Spirit who is all powerful because he is God.

Then you can live a joy filled powerful life. 

Power. Buzz thought he had great power: a laser beam, a life sustaining helmet, direct contact with Star Command, and the ability to fly. But no, he only had blinking lights and sounds and gimmicks. The best he could do was fall with style. Just like us. In our own power all we can do is light up a very small space on our good days, make some noise, and rarely can we even fall with style. 

But when we put ourselves, the person God made us to be, in His hands, he supplies the power and will use us (YOU and me) for His glory. 

Ah Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
I may have asked you this before, but I come again, knowing you love to have your children call out to you, Abba, Father, Daddy, God. Come into my life fresh and new. And again I thank you and praise you, Father God for all things you’ve created and all things you do, through Jesus your Son, by the Holy Spirit. Amen, amen, amen.


 4 days of devotionals for kids from Camp Venango for Jesus 2010. You are welcome to borrow, tweak, and personalize as needed -- my byline would be appreciated. 

Theme: Spiritual Warfare
II Cor. 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (NIV)

Day 1 – written by Betsy Henning
                  Fight the Good Fight
 (Matt. 5:38-48) (I Tim 6:12)

You got a problem? Whoa, hold the sticks, stones, knives, and guns. They’re of no use when fighting spiritual battles. And they just plain shouldn’t be used for any other kind of battle either. It’s a shame people turn to weapons. Some kids settle arguments with sticks and stones and name calling. Some grown ups settle fights the same way, only they step it up a notch with rude words, knives and guns. God sent Jesus to show us a better way. He tells us not to fight -- even with a mean person. In Matthew 5:38-42 Jesus says that if someone strikes you on the cheek turn and let him hit you again. If someone takes your coat, give him your shirt too. There’s more. Go read it, but don’t stop at verse 42 read on through the end of chapter 5 about loving your enemies. According to God’s Word, the solution to problems, disagreements, arguments and fights should always be loving kindness and self-control. 

Today think about two kinds of battles:
1. The flesh and blood earthly kind – name calling, fist fights and worse, which you should avoid at all cost – as in no bloody noses, no bruises, no scratches, or broken bones…none of that.
2. The spiritual kind – where you absolutely, positively need to get out the big guns, but we’re not talking bang, bang shoot ‘em up guns. I Tim. 6:12 says, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” That means fight off the enemy who wants to tell you you’re hot stuff, cool, phenomenal, the best… good, just the way you are; when in fact, you are a sinner who needs Jesus.

Pray this:
Dear Heavenly Father, the Bible says to fight the good fight of the faith, but I know that you don’t want us to fight with people. You want us to wrestle with our own sin and to fight Satan who wants to keep us from being close to you. I need your help to do that God. Only YOU have the power, and I can’t do anything without you, but with you, I can do all things.

Jesus, I want to start with confessing to you that I am a sinner. I’m sorry for my sin and all of the wrong things I’ve done. Thank you for forgiving me. Please Jesus, come into my heart and fill me with your Holy Spirit.


Day 2 – written by Betsy Henning
Who to Fight, How to Fight, What to Fight With (Eph. 6:10-18)
Hey what’s going on here? What’s going on in YOUR life? There are so many good things you want to do and so many bad things you don’t want to do, but everything gets mixed up. You don’t do the good things and you do the bad things. What’s up with that? I’ll tell you what; there are enemies in this world. You can’t see them, but they are fighting against you. They’re making it hard for you to make good choices, and they tempt you to make bad choices. It’s a constant battle, a big fight…over YOU. The enemy and his agents want to keep you out of God’s kingdom; they want to keep you far from God. Don’t fall for it – fight those agents of evil, fight the good fight. Fight for your faith. 

There is no way you can do this on your own. Put on the armor of God so you can stand your ground. Buckle the belt of truth around your waist, cover your chest with the breastplate of righteousness, shove your fat feet (or little feet) into shoes of peace, grab a shield of faith and keep it right out front, and for heaven’s sake, wear your helmet of salvation. You’ll need a weapon. Take up your sword, the Word of God (yeah, that’s right, your Bible). And PRAY. There, that ought to do it. You’re good to go.

Get in there and fight back the powers of darkness that are trying to keep you from doing great things for God and trying to keep you out of the heavenly realm. The bad spirits are picking a fight with you. Don’t fall for it, stand firm in Jesus. And just so you know… all of the counselors at Camp Venango for Jesus are rooting for YOU!  Remember – you can do all things in Christ who gives you strength! (see Phil. 4:13)

Pray this:
Dear Jesus, help me get prepared for battle by putting on the armor of God. You’ve provided a way for me to stand through the battle against sin. I know YOU can demolish strongholds and bring victory in my life. Satan and all of his evil gang want me to fail…but you want me to succeed. I’ll do my part by fighting off evil with the weapons you’ve given me. The enemy doesn’t stand a chance if I stick close to you, Lord God. AMEN.

Day 3 – written by Betsy Henning
Take Captive Every Thought  (II Cor. 10:5)
Put an end to arguments about God and you’ll stop the enemy in his tracks. Don’t argue about faith. You can’t win – not in your own head, not with a stranger, a buddy, or even with your bff. BUT, like the Bible says in I Peter 3:15, always be ready with an answer if anyone asks a reason for the hope that you have. Answer people kindly even if they aren’t nice…like, “So what’s this faith stuff all about? Only a moron would believe in God.”
Whoa! I know, I know -- those are fighting words, but don’t come out swinging. Take deep breaths… control yourself… and then tell them what the Lord has done for you! It’s called your testimony. You’ve got that in your heart and head, right? No???? Well get thinking about it now so you’re ready with a soft answer that will turn away anger just like Proverbs 15:1 says.

No one can argue with your testimony – not even Satan, but he’ll try. So write it down and memorize it. Repeat your testimony when Satan or anyone else tries to mess with your faith.

The next phrase in II Cor. 10:5 says, “…take captive every thought… make it obedient to Christ.”

When you begin to think bad things, either about someone who’s giving you a hard time, or, yikes… when something is in your head that you don’t want ANYONE to know you’re thinking – grab that thought and choke it until it screams for mercy. And then don’t give it any mercy. Snuff it out. Bad thoughts and temptations are darts from the enemy. Pull out some of your God weapons like the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit and deflect or slash the bad thoughts. And ask the Holy Spirit to fill your head and heart with awesome stuff like joy, and peace, and patience, and goodness, and faith.

Pray this:
Father God, help me to tell others all that you have done for me. And God, I hate to admit it, but sometimes bad or wrong thoughts come to mind. Please help me to turn all those thoughts over to you. Fill my mind and heart with goodness that comes from you and you alone. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins and the Holy Spirit to fill me with your love. I know I can’t begin to fight off evil and take captive every thought without your help. AMEN


Day 4 – written by Betsy Henning
                      Overcoming Strongholds 

II Cor. 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (NIV)

What is a stronghold? Look at it this way – two words – strong hold, or you could say, a really firm grip. One definition would be anything bad that has a strong hold on you is a stronghold (spell that SIN for short). So, what’s got a hold of you? It could be an addiction, or it could be a tendency toward a bad habit, selfishness, lying, stealing, foul language, bad temper. Did I hit yours? Because I’m pretty sure you’ve got a nasty bent of some sort in your life. I know that because the Bible says we’re all sinners. The only way to be forgiven of our sins is through Jesus – He took the punishment for your sins and mine so that we could be forgiven. He paid our debt and set us free. Free to get into heaven. Free to be close to God who loves us…

 Are you liking the sound of this? The Bible puts it this way in John 1:12 “But to all who received him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.” And that’s good news!

However, as children of God here on earth, there may be sins that have a strong hold on us. These strongholds weigh us down and keep us from being all we can be as Christians. But here’s some more good news – the weapons we fight with, namely prayer and our sword (the Word of God)…have divine power to demolish strongholds! Isn’t that great? In Acts 1:8 God says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…”

So here’s the deal, have you Got Jesus? If you have Jesus you have the POWER! You have power to become God’s child. You have power to defeat strongholds. II Cor. 10:4 says you have divine power to DEMOLISH strongholds. That means you can tear them down and stomp on them. We’re talking sins here; in Christ you’ve got the power to conquer your sins.

Pray this:
Dear Jesus the counselors at Camp Venango for Jesus have been teaching me all week about spiritual warfare. I want the power to become your child. I want the power to defeat strongholds in my life. I give all of the sin that has a strong hold over me to you and ask for forgiveness. And most of all, I want to go forward in all the power that you promised and do great things for you Lord. AMEN