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Contents Writer’s Block Jesus Is NOT My Best Friend! EPHPHATHA BIBLE STUDY DISRESPECTFUL get RIGHT or get LEFT

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Speak ~ poems & stories ~ Rheme ~ Bible reading & memory verse ~ 1:1 ~ questions & answer session get RIGHT or get LEFT Contact YOUNGINs.org

2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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Writer’s Block YOUNGINs, what’s really going on? YOUNGINs, what’s really going on? You probably want to ask me that same question after flipping through the pages. Along with the implication of the name, YOUNGINs also stands for Young In Christ. Therefore, this ministry is applicable to all ages, yet focuses on youth worldwide. The magazine officially premiered on 17 February 2005. It is the starting point of my journey which will eventually lead to a global non-profit organization. YOUNGINs, you are a part of my destiny - the reason I was born at this time and for this moment. It has been prophesied to me time and time again that, “God has anointed you for a purpose and He will unfold that purpose day by day before you and you won’t have to take care of yourself and oil your own head. He will do it for you. He will pour out fresh oil day after day after day after day, fresh anointing...fresh oil poured on your head, running down over your shoulders, healing your heart, binding up your wounds, flowing out through every finger of both hands, out to the world to fulfill His divine purpose in you. You are an anointed woman...” YOUNGINs, you are also anointed - to hear and to take action - which is why the organization is designed with your destiny at heart. You have so many things to do, places to see, people to meet...and you have to figure a way to do it all in your lifetime. Most importantly, you have to do it right. There is no point in delaying your destiny by learning from mistake after mistake; it’s like being in a never-ending cycle. Instead, learn from others by avoiding their same mistakes and lead your life that much more simply. Should you decide to ride with me, our hearts will be healed together along with our wounds and we will fulfill the divine purpose of Christ. Let’s turn the world upside down!

Until then Pray Continually T.Robinson

2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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Jesus Is NOT My Best Friend! YOUNGINs MAG Feature Story by T.Robinson Feel me Jesus is not my best friend. It’s not that He doesn’t want to be; I simply won’t allow Him to be my best friend.  It would mean I have to let Him in.  It would mean I have to let Him get close to me.  It would mean I have to trust Him…completely.  I don’t do those things well.  So, to allow Jesus to be my best friend is something I do not know how to do and I’m almost unwilling to adjust to the thought of it at this point.  It was during those formative years that I learned to view Jesus as my Father, Brother, and Friend.  Now, why would I want to do something like that? Best friends talk, best friends share, best friends just are...and Jesus is not mine.  When I want to share a moment, I should be able to pick up the phone and tell my best friend where to meet me and at what time.  Everyone calls on Jesus, so when would He have time for me.  When I need to reveal a secret, I want to look into my best friend’s eyes and know it is safe.  Jesus is too far away for that type of intimacy.  When I have no words, it is my best friend who should know what I’m really saying.  I am not sure how people could even suggest that Jesus is their best friend.  It seems out of the question impossible. Understand me I know Jesus.  My parents knew Jesus before I did and introduced me to Him.  Jesus knew of me before I pushed my way out of my mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  We go way back.  I have memories of going to His house every Sunday, every Wednesday, on Saturday, and any other day of the week a family member had to go over there.  I grew up with Jesus. It was during those formative years that I learned to view Jesus as my Father, Brother, and Friend.  Now, why would I want to do something like that?  As expected, I immediately reminisce about my earthly father when that term is used to define God.  I don’t think there is a way to explain my relationship with my dad without putting him in a bad light, but know that there’s nothing bad about him.  He’s a great example of a man - a Godfearing man - and I love him with all that I have along with my mother.  Yet, the bottom line is that me and my Dad have never been close.  We have rarely had conversations and, when we do, it seems so uncomfortable for both of us.  Our dialogue basically consists of ‘Hi, I love you, bye’.  Jesus is my Father, yes?  Well, it works for me if I understand it to mean my provider.  It does not suffice if I am to have open communication with Him beginning with the proper spoken language of ‘Our Father, whom art in heaven.’  I have nothing to talk to you about Jesus…it’s just not how a father-child relationship works as far as I am concerned. If I believed that this next revelation was solely mine, then I would leave well enough alone and delete ‘brother’ from my personal list of terms for Jesus.  However, is it not general knowledge that brothers have a tendency to get on your nerves?  In as close as playfulness and seriousness can get to the other without crossing the line, it’s in our very nature to test our siblings to the limit.  What else is there to do?  I can find no reason to explore this topic further since it should be obvious why it is hard for me to view Jesus as a brother.  Accordingly, a father will always be just that as will a brother - whether we like it or not - yet a friend is not always as named.  I am sure we can agree that trust is very important in a friendship; without it, there is no hope.  Out of all of the friends you have had in your brief lifetime, how many have betrayed your trust in some fashion?  As a matter of fact, I would gamble successfully that many have trusted you to their regret. This may explain why I choose to have very few friends and only one that I consider my best.  By the way, their name is not Jesus. 2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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Jesus Is NOT My Best Friend! YOUNGINs MAG Feature Story by T.Robinson

If I had to describe my relationship with Jesus, I would say we are associates. He does His thing and I do mine.  Should I need to leverage His expertise, I have His number in my list of contacts.  I try to stay in touch with him as often as possible; unfortunately, days turns into weeks and weeks into months without me even realizing it.   I do read up on Him every once in a while and I listen in when I hear people talking about their relations with Him, so I know how He’s doing.  Overall, I would say we’re good.  So, here I am with the need of defining Jesus as my Father, Brother, and Friend…best friend even.  Maybe that is my problem - trying to confine Jesus to a definition.  One of my favorite, if not the favorite, verses in the Bible says, “There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books,” {John 21:25}. This disclosure reminds me not to limit Jesus, so why am I doing so now?  He’s too good for me to define him by the characteristics of others.  He’s too big to be in my jail cell of a mind.  I guess since my problem is with Him, I should just talk to Him about it: Jesus, I have to admit that it is hard for me to call You my Father, my Brother, or my Best Friend.  When I think of the people who hold those positions in my life, it stiffens me and I shut down.  If love is enough, then we can consider this conversation closed.  However, I know it is not sufficient because You also ask me to trust You and to have faith in You without limitations.  Without limitations does not work for me, Jesus.  I believe Your Word, but we’re talking relationship here and I limit every relationship in which I am involved.  I could try to get to know my father better, but why bother?  Yes, I do remember how nice it was when we went to dinner and I asked questions about his past.  I learned a lot in that little bit of time and we had fun.  It would be great to hear more about his life.  I guess I could learn a lot about You too if I would just ask and listen to Your Spirit for the answers…humph.  Yeah, well, that still doesn’t rid of the fact that I have a hard time trusting people, which has obviously affected my relationship with You.  I mean it makes no sense for me to give of myself 100% when I know the person will eventually use up their three strikes and be out of my life.  It seems my insight of people is similar to Yours because John said, “...Jesus didn’t entrust his life to them. He knew them inside and out, knew how untrustworthy they were. He didn’t need any help in seeing right through them,” {John 2:24-25} Yes, it is true that You have done nothing but show me reasons I can trust You and I do to an extent…to the best of my ability. Oh God, of all beings, I do not want to push You away.  I need only You and I know I cannot do any good thing without You, but I live as if I can handle life on my own.  Every time you come towards me for a hug, I extend my hand.  Each day, you wait for me to awake in order to show me the love you have for me, but I elbow you away and kick you out of the room.  What is wrong with our relationship?  I am helpless without You, yet I stare at You as if You were a stranger; I was told not to speak to strangers.  I do not want to live the rest of my days this way. My daily prayers are stale to embarrassment; my tongues are twisted.  I might as well have my hands in my pockets during praise and worship service.  My feet do not know a dance.  My heart is empty and my life seems void.  I live because that is all I have left to do.  What, when, where, how, why do you still consider me your child, your sibling, your friend…best friend even?  I would really like to trust people while removing restrictions from my heart.  I guess that starts with You.  If I

2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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decide to trust You fully, I’m sure You will put people in my life who will care enough to protect my heart. If I decide to trust You fully…that is so much easier said than done; so much to ask of me.  Jesus (selah)...I don’t have to change completely, do I?  Can we please take this slow? And so it is.  This life is crazy; it makes no sense sometimes.  The funniest looking baby turns out to be one of the most beautiful/handsome adults you laid eyes on.  Two little children fight during their entire childhood to finally marry and be more in love than any.  As soon as it ends, we await summer again and then hate on it throughout the few months it is here because it’s so hot.  The waves of the ocean roll and crash, yet there is peace in that somehow.  Yesterday, I could not even consider the thought of Jesus as a best friend and today I know there is none better.  I wish I could explain to you how it feels to talk to Him everyday and know that He really feels where I’m coming from.  I mean we clicked from the moment we met, but I kept him at arms’ length.  As corny as it may sound, now it’s like we grab each other around the shoulders skipping happily along the way.  It’s like I found someone to play Xbox with and He understands that I’m the true baller while wishing for my skills.  It’s like… it’s like…it’s just unreal. Jesus has been real cool about the whole thing.  You should probably take a minute to talk to Him too.  Would you like to meet Him?  Oh, you already know Jesus.  Do you consider Him to be your best friend or do you relate to my situation?  Well, what about you - would you like me to introduce you to Jesus?  Not today - alright, your choice.  I’ll catch up with ya’ll soon. Feel me now I’m telling you, since my talk with Jesus, I feel like I had weights on my shoulders and someone knocked them off for me.  Even if it isn’t, the sky seems bluer and the grass seems greener.  I feel like I’m on vacation everyday.  It’s like being in California - wanna hear a song about it, hear it go - it never rains in Southern Cali…okay, there have been ‘rainy’ days for me on this vacation, but they haven’t ruined the trip.  Lately, it has been like getting everything I wanted for Christmas.  When I prayed specifically about a few things, He gave me more than I asked for…exceedingly abundantly more - even the desires of my heart.  Understand me now I have a best friend that I can talk to and He listens without judgment, questions without sarcasm, gives advice without being hypocritical, and He always has the right answer instead of expressing bad opinions.  Not only that, Jesus helps me resolve my issues or sends someone to assist me with them.  I often look back and wonder how much I have been missing out on.  I need to make sure not to make that mistake again.  I never want to take for granted my relationship with Jesus.  No longer do I consider Him as an associate.  Jesus is my Father, Brother, and Friend…best friend even. You want to meet Jesus now.  You would like to know Jesus as your best friend.  No prob, He’s been waiting to meet you too.  Simply open the door to your heart and let Jesus in by saying: Jesus, My heart is open to You.  You died on the cross for me and rose from the dead as promised in Your Word.  Now I promise to love you with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength.  I believe you are the Son of God and I trust You completely.  My life is Yours to use for the rest of my days.  I will do it, I will say it, I will walk it - Your Will be done.  To You, Lord Jesus Christ, I give thanks today for saving my life. Until then, Pray Continually “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life,” {John 20:31}.   2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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EPHPHATHA Then Jesus looked up in prayer, groaned mightily, and commanded, “Ephphatha!—Open up!” And it happened. The man’s hearing was clear and his speech plain—just like that. Jesus urged them to keep it quiet, but they talked it up all the more, beside themselves with excitement. “He’s done it all and done it well. He gives hearing to the deaf, speech to the speechless.” (Mark 7:34-37 TMNT) I am neither deaf nor dumb, yet I long to experience that same level of excitement - to hear one voice clearly and speak it plainly. It is as if l can see his lips moving, but I can hear no sound. At other times, l can hear his voice, but I cannot comprehend the language spoken. Then, there are those moments when I thought he was talking to me, only to look over my shoulder and realize in embarrassment that his words were meant for someone else. One of the first voices the healed man heard was that of Jesus. Yes, that is the voice I crave; Ephphatha! l want to be open - open to his voice. When Jesus says something, so it is. Simply take a look around you. He said, ‘let there be light, sky, earth and sea, vegetation, animals, man and woman, and it all happened. Not only did it happen, it was altogether lovely. Moses was one who heard his voice clearly and spoke it plainly to us. By being open, Moses was given access to things unknown, things never seen or heard by others. Would you like to be open to His voice? l want to be open - open to his promises. He has yet to break a promise and l cannot imagine that he will start a trend with me. Jesus said his word is bond and I believe him wholeheartedly. Abraham also believed when he had nothing else but God’s Word. In return, he was blessed with a nation. Would you like to be open to His promises?

l want to be open - open to his song. The sweetest thing I know is a beautiful voice singing a beautiful song. Even the one person who is always off key could not mess with this melody. It’s like receiving a hug exactly when needed - not before, not after, not too long, and not too short - simply harmony. God gave David a new psalm which touches our hearts in any and every needed area. Would you like to be open to His song? l want to be open - open to his vision for my life. There is a reason for my birth at this particular time, in this place, for this moment...places to go, things to do, and lives to save. I am chosen as was Noah and he had no doubt about his God-given purpose. Noah was given detailed instructions by God to help him reach his destiny along with sporadic visions of its culmination. While these visions can be confusing, they are also exciting and makes it worthwhile to aim towards God’s goals. Would you like to be open to His vision for your life? The Lord is known to speak through people, visions, songs, dreams, the Holy Spirit, and most often His Word. Unfortunately, His voice is sometimes obstructed by other people, other visions, other songs, other dreams, and the devil. If I cannot hear from God clearly, then I certainly will not be able to speak plainly about Him. God knew that the deaf and speechless would not be the only ones in need of His healing. He knew I would also need to be opened and now is the time. If you answered yes to the questions posed to you above, then you are most welcome to journey with me. Ephphatha!

2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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DISRESPECTFUL You have probably heard about us because of our more famous friend, Daniel. We were with Daniel when we were captured by the Babylonians. We were down with him when he refused to eat the king’s meat. We all went on a vegetarian diet and ended up being smarter and stronger than everybody else who had been captured with us. Well, time has passed. We’re still here in Babylon, but now we’re officials under King Nebuchadnezzar. You may be wondering how we as Jews managed to ease our way into such important jobs. Believe it or not, it all happened because we disrespected the king. I’m Meshach, and since I was the first one to catch a hint of what was up, let me take you back and let you know how it went down. Shadrach and Abednego arrived at my office at the same time, smiling, giving dap, and hugging with that brother-hug good friends use. “It’s been too long, dudes,” announced Abednego. “The Babs are keeping us busy. How have you been, dawgs?” Shadrach answered, “Man, the Babs are all over me too. I really can’t complain that much. My job is cool, the apartment’s nice, but it’s still not home.” “It’s been three years since the Neb captured us.” I reminisced as I stared out of my second story office window. “Funny, but I still miss home too, man. No matter how hard they have tried, they haven’t been able to make Babylonians out of us, have they?” Abednego was ready with a comeback, “No way, man. That’s why, at least behind their backs, I call them Babs and that’s why you call King Nebuchadnezzar, the Neb. They don’t even deserve the courtesy of having us say their whole names. They thought they had us when they changed our names, but they had to shut-up when God showed Himself to them through our vegetable diet.” “Yeah man, do you remember the looks on their faces when Daniel told them to test us with that diet and then we turned out stronger and smarter than everybody else? That was priceless!” I could tell I had brought back a pleasant memory and we all had a good laugh. Then my expression had to darken. “But you know, the Babs have been on my case ever since I was assigned to this job. They have been trying everything to get me thrown out of here.” “That happens to me too, man,” Shadrach returned. “They are so jealous that the Neb has placed Jews over the province. The guys I work with are looking for a way to get me fired too.” Abednego added, “I know Belteshazzer is having the same problem.” I had to correct my brother quickly. “Man, you know Daniel would beat you down if he heard you using that name to refer to him. We got pretty used to the new name thing, but Daniel never did. I’m sure he’s fighting his own fights. That’s why we don’t see him around much any more. They want to be sure he doesn’t influence us to rebel even more. Anyway, we have our own problem jumpin’.” Shadrach questioned, “What’s up, Dawg?” “You had better sit down, brothers. We’re really in deep this time. I just heard that the Neb got the bright idea of making an image of gold. The thing is nine feet tall and he’s setting it up on the plain of Dura.” “Big deal,” Abednego shrugged. “We’ve ignored their stupid idols all this time and they basically haven’t 2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included. -8-


YOUNGINs MAG Written by Sharon Norris Elliot

YOUNGINs MAG Written by Sharon Norris Elliot DISRESPECTFUL

sweated us. We’ll just ignore this one too.” “Not happening dude,” I continued. “This time there’s going to be a big dedication service. They’ve actually made it a vacation day so that everybody can be outside along a sort of parade route when he rides the thing through the city on the way to set it up. “Again, so what?” said Abednego. “I’m not upset yet. You’re making this out to be some big deal and I’m just not feeling you.” “I know you didn’t call us all the way up here to tell us some little jive junk like that.” Shadrach joined in. “Come out with it. What kind of trouble are we in?” “Thanks for feeling me, Dawg,” I replied. “Look man, it’s a set-up. Everybody has to be out at the dedication. Everybody. That includes us. And here’s the hitch. Everybody is supposed to bow down to the image as it passes by. The decree has been given that whomever doesn’t bow will be thrown into the furnace.” “What? Aw, it’s clear now, Dawg,” exclaimed Shadrach shaking his head and getting up to pace the floor. “They know we won’t bow to an idol. They don’t only plan to get us thrown out of our jobs, they plan to get us killed. What are we going to do?” “I know what we’re not going to do,” answered Abednego. “We’re not going to bow to that image. We’ve hung with God too long to dis Him like this. You down, man? Abednego reached out his hand, palm down. Shadrach placed his hand on Abednego’s and I placed mine on top. We were in this together no matter what. A few days later was the day of the dedication. Shadrach, Abednego and I filed out to the parade route with all the other workers. As the huge image of gold passed, all kinds of beautiful music played. The decree to bow to the image had been well publicized and people of every nationality bowed reverently as the image processed slowly down the street. The Neb must have been elated. He and his gods were getting all the play. But as the image passed by us, we stood tall, looking straight ahead. It seemed as though no one even saw that we were standing up because everybody around us was whipped and bent over. But no such luck. Not an hour had passed after we returned to our jobs before we were all summoned to the king’s throne room. In essence, we were arrested. King Nebuchadnezzar was in a rage. “Is it true? Is what I’ve heard true? After all I’ve done for you boys, you dishonor me by not bowing to my golden image? I tell you what. You get yourselves ready and I’ll give you another chance. Now, when you hear the theme music, you fall down on your knees, your faces, whatever, and worship the image I’ve made. Then everything will be just fine. But, if you don’t bow down, don’t expect any special treatment. You will receive the punishment I promised and be tossed into the burning furnace immediately. Don’t play me. What god exists who can save you from my hand once I order your frying?” We didn’t even miss a beat to answer the king. Of course, I spoke up first, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t even need to discuss this issue. You know where we stand - and my emphasis is on ‘stand’ - when it comes to your idols and our God.”

2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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Abednego joined in, “To answer your question, O King, if you decide to throw us into the blazing furnace, the God that we serve is able to save us from both your furnace and from your hand.” Shadrach continued, “But even if our God decides not to deliver us from this punishment, we want you to know, O King, that we refuse to serve your gods and there’s no way we’ll ever worship the image of gold you’ve made.” “You ingrates,” Nebuchadnezzar shouted. “Guards, heat the oven seven times hotter than usual. Get my strongest soldiers, tie up these three, and throw them into the furnace now!” So we didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to any of our friends. The king was so adamant about getting us into the furnace that we weren’t even allowed to take off our robes and turbans as most condemned prisoners did. With our hearts beating almost loudly enough to be heard across the room, we were securely tied up and hustled toward the furnace. I was so scared I was ready to wet on myself. We could feel the heat as we got closer and closer to the furnace. As the soldiers shoved us in, the intense heat of the flames killed them! We all tensed up and closed our eyes, expecting to feel our skin start to fry. After about 10 seconds, we realized nothing was happening. We could still hear the fire fiercely crackling all around us, but it wasn’t hot. We were in the middle of a blazing fire and we felt nothing at all. Shadrach figured we had died and were having some sort of out-of-body experience, but it was true. The three of us were standing there in the fire and not being burned. Then we noticed that the ropes that had held us so tightly were gone. Then the biggest surprise of all happened, there was another guy in there with us. He introduced Himself as God’s own Son. Then we started laughing. We just started bustin’ up. We couldn’t help ourselves. God had taken the heat and destruction out of fire! Incredible. We have no idea how long we were in there with God’s Son, but we didn’t care. We laughed and talked with Him while we walked around in that fire praising God. You talk about a praise and worship service! We had one in that furnace that afternoon. Well, while all this was going on inside the furnace, outside the king couldn’t erase how he really felt about us. We had been his boys, his special picks. We had proven to be a definite asset to his management team. He actually hated to lose us, but he simply could not tolerate our disrespect of his decrees. I could actually understand his position. He was the king. If we got away with dissing him, others he had conquered would think they could defy his orders too. But as he gazed into the flames of the furnace through his private window, he got the shock of his life. “Didn’t we tie up and throw three men into the fire?” The king was amazed. “Why do I see four men walking around loose? And who is that fourth man? He looks like a son of the gods!” Nebuchadnezzar approached the furnace door and shouted in, “Shadrach. Meshach. Abednego.” Once you actually have an encounter with the Son of God, I guess it doesn’t take long to change your tune, no matter who you are, a servant or a king. He said, “I see you are truly servants of the Most High God. Come out of the furnace and come here.” I noticed the king’s attitude change immediately. As we exited the furnace, I elbowed my partners. “Did you 2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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YOUNGINs MAG Written by Sharon Norris Elliot DISRESPECTFUL hear that dawgs? He called us ‘servants of the Most High God’. Old Neb is acknowledging the God of Israel. God is all right!” I looked past them to thank the Son of God, but He was gone, just as quickly as He had shown up. The other two couldn’t hold back their grins either as we walked back into the king’s throne room. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Those who had dropped a dime on us and gotten us arrested in the first place were just staring with their mouths open as we passed. “Look at that,” one of the governors whispered. “The fire didn’t harm their bodies at all. Their robes are not scorched, their hair is not singed, dang, they don’t even smell like smoke. Are they magicians of some kind? What the heck is going on?” Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.” (Dan 3:28-30) Then, to the dismay of the government officials who had tried to get us killed, the king promoted us to even higher positions. ____________________________________________ If Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were 15 or 16 years old when they were taken captive by the Babylonians, by the time of this fiery furnace incident, they would have been older teens of about 18 or 19. They had remained in King Nebuchadnezzar’s “chosen child” program, yet had remained faithful to their God. They had made up their minds to respect God’s laws even if it meant disrespecting man’s laws, so even the threat of death did not deter them. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew the consequences of breaking man’s law and were willing to face those consequences.

Used by permission of the author, Sharon Norris Elliott. No portion of this piece can be reprinted or reproduced without the express, written permission of the author. For discussion of permission to copy or for information on obtaining the entire book, What? Teenagers in the Bible?, contact the author at www.SharonNorrisElliott.com. I have my (autographed) copy - GET YOUR BOOK TODAY! T.Robinson

REAM: You want to write a book. DILEMMA: You don’t know how to get started. DISCOVERY: AuthorizeMe is your answer! Please refer to www.AuthorizeMe.net for more information concerning the seminars or contact Sharon Norris Elliot at info@AuthorizeMe.net. For adult, teen, and children’s books; Christian, positive value, and positive message books only.

2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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get RIGHT or get LEFT What you do to me, Lord, what you ask of me now - GET RIGHT with you or GET LEFT behind - is that really an alternative? The proposal is simple enough, but the reality is as clear as Ray’s eyesight. The proposal says there is You, the Lord Jesus Christ - the only living God, but reality says there are many other gods...and then I sometimes question if there is even a god at all. The proposal says I will go to heaven if I live a certain way, but reality says I am destined for hell. Your Word is misconstrued by many to fit the moment until it has no real meaning at all. How am I to know that Your way is right? So many choices…so few chances. Look, I’m not trying to get left behind, but I would like to enjoy my life while I am here. I mean there are some who feel any device will intoxicate me and they would like me to stay in a PG-13 world for the rest of my days. It makes me wonder how they survived their childhood watching those television shows, listening to that music, going to the R-rated movies, and hanging out with their badly influenced friends. Is there justification for limiting my fun? Well, I have reached the warning sign that the fork in the road in near...get right or get left. Right, right, right of course that’s the right direction, right? Hey, what happens when I make that choice? Jonah, will you help me with this: My story is simple. I was stupid! God told me to go to this city called Nineveh and preach His Word. Instead, I decided to go to a city ~ in the opposite direction ~ called Tarshish and hide. I thought my plan was working because I saw this boat about to leave and I had just enough time to pay the fare. I was tired from all that running, so I went below deck to get some sleep. Next thing I know, the captain is shaking me and asking me, ‘how can you sleep?’ He told me to get up and pray to my god so that we would be saved from the storm. Storm? What storm? ...and pray to my God? I’m running away from God. If I call on Him, He’ll know where I’m at. Anyway, everybody is in a panic by now ~ praying to anything they could think of ~ then they start looking around to see which of us was causing the storm. Guess who everybody ends up looking at...yep, me - Jonah (sometimes it takes somebody else to point out when you are not in the will of God.) So, I had to let it be known that it was all my fault and the only way to make it better was to throw me off of the boat (well, did you think I was going to jump off?). Now, I know you probably would have been like ‘see ya’, but they did their best to get back to land safely first. Of course, that did not work because it was not God’s will so... It’s bad enough that I’m drowning, choking on seaweed that’s wrapped around my head, but now a gigantic fish is coming towards me :o and it swallowed me. So, now I have a fish as my coffin and hell as my eternal grave. But none of that stopped me from praying and, on the third day, the Lord raised me...not only from the dead, not only from the belly of a great fish, but also from the pit of hell. You should probably read the rest of my story for yourself (it’s only four short Bible chapters), but here are some points that I want you to take from my story: If I had listened to God & followed His Word in the first place, then I would never have gone through HELL and back

2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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God told me to do something, I got scared, and I ran away. Who did I think I was running away from? God knows all things! He knew I was going to run before I ran. He knew I was going to get on that boat and that’s why it was waiting there for me. God knew they were going to throw me overboard and He had a fish there waiting to swallow me up. The same kind of things have happened to you. God told you to do something, but at that time you claimed not to be spiritual enough to know how to ‘hear’ from Him. Some of you knew what you were hearing and decided to run in the other direction anyway ~ towards drugs, alcohol, sex, parties instead of church ~ whatever the direction you chose, it was not God’s path for you. Then, all of the people you thought were your friends started trippin’ - they threw you overboard and you got swallowed up. The only way to describe what you went through (or what you are going through right now) is going through hell on earth. That’s my story too, but I started praying while I was in hell ~ have you started praying yet? I could not run away from God’s Word Someone once said that they could tell how close of a relationship a person had with God by how far they have fallen. It’s because they are trying SO hard to run away from the voice of God that they need to stay high or drunk so they will not ‘hear’ Him. KEEP THIS IN MIND: God heard my cry for mercy from hell ~ believe me, He is listening for your cry right now. God gave me, Jonah, a second chance at life and He will give you another chance too. None of this was God’s fault; it wasn’t even the devil’s doing There’s no way I could blame God. He was actually trying to help me, Jonah, the one running away from His Word. I couldn’t blame the devil either because the devil didn’t tell me to ignore God. I decided to be that stupid on my own. Watch who you try to blame...look in the mirror first ~ that’s always a good start. Listening is not hard IF you want to hear It’s not called depression. It’s called ‘not listening.’ Unless you are ready to go through hell only to end up in hell, then you should listen to God the first time He tells you to do something AND do what He tells you to do. Remember, God will never give you more than you can bear. Thanks, Jonah, I feel you...leaning towards the right, but I may need more convincing. Until then, Pray Continually CALL TO DISCIPLESHIP by Jr. Minister Sheldon Paramore, age 14 2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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May I ask you a question? Raise your hand if after a basketball, or football, or any other sports game you wait to hear who was the MVP of the game. What if I told you that you are God’s MVP and that you don’t have to wait to find that out. All you have to do is accept Him in your heart. Don’t waste time and think ‘well, I’ll do it later’ because guess what?...there might not be a later. Don’t you know that He can come back in the blink of an eye? Everyone blink your eyes; He could have returned that quickly. One second you could be sitting next to someone, the next second one of you are gone without a trace. Let me ask you another question - which person would YOU be? The one who disappeared or the one left sitting there? If your reply was the one left sitting there or if it was I’m not sure, then please pray this prayer with me: “Father God, I believe You sent Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on Calvary. Not for Your sake, but for my sake Lord. I also believe that He was buried and, on the third day, He rose again so that I may have everlasting life in Heaven. Please, Lord, come into my heart. I know I am a sinner and I ask You Lord to please forgive me, so that I may follow You Lord and live according to Your Word. These things I ask Lord not for anyone else, but for myself. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.”

2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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Speak ~ poems & stories ~ “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear,” {Isaiah 65:24}. This beautiful story was written by a doctor who worked in South Africa. One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator). We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates) “And it is our last hot water bottle!” she exclaimed. As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. “All right,” I said, “put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.” The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. “Please, God” she prayed, “Send us a hot water bottle today. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.” While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, “And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?” As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say “Amen”? I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator! Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored.. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

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Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!” Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she asked: “Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?” Of course, I replied! That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-yearold to bring it “that afternoon.” “Before they call, I will answer.” (Isaiah 65:24) Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let’s continue praying for one another. This is an awesome prayer takes less than a minute. Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this. I ask You to minister to their spirit. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them. Where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, guidance, and strength. Where there is fear, reveal Your love and release to them Your courage. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. Give each of them discernment to recognize the evil forces around them and reveal to them the power they have in You to defeat it. I ask You to do these things in Jesus’ name. Amen ~ Anonymous

Feel free to submit your poem or short story for publishing in the Speak! section of YOUNGINs Magazine: speak@youngins.org. If your submission is used, you will be given copyright credit only - no monetary payment or otherwise. Please include your contact information in case others are interested in your work.

2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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Rheme ~ Bible reading & memory verse ~ Come, Youngins, listen to me and I will teach you the ways of the Lord. Psalm 34:11 Come, Youngins, listen to me and I will teach you the ways of the Lord. Psalm 34:11 1:1 ~ questions & answer session

ContactUs@youngins.org General comments, inquiries, and testimonies about God, life, your purpose, whatever, whatever Speak@youngins.org Submit your poem or short story for publishing in the Speak! section of YOUNGINs Magazine 1on1@youngins.org Question and Answer session between you and me; if you and I agree that our discussion may help other Youngins, it may be posted anonymously (no names) Info@youngins.org General information about YOUNGINs Magazine and its writers

Contact YOUNGINs.org Until then Pray Continually T.Robinson 2005 T.Robinson   Permission is hereby granted to reprint quotations from this work up to 500 words provided that such quotations are not altered or edited in any way and provided that an appropriate credit line is included.

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