EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an extract from What Does the Bible Say About That? by Carolyn Larsen (Crossway). Illustrations by Rick Incrocci.

Introduction

Newsflash! Learning to live for God doesn’t happen overnight. Nope, it’s a journey. Think about it—when you start out on a long road trip, more than likely your mom or dad has the trip mapped out. Well, your Christian life journey is mapped out, too—in the Bible. This amazing book is not just a bunch of “do this and don’t do that” lists. It’s the story of God’s love for you and how his Spirit living in you will guide, protect, love, forgive, and love you again.

Newsflash Two: There will be times in your Christian life when you fall flat on your face. Yep, everyone does. That’s because we’re all fighting our sinful hearts that want to do things our own way, not to mention fighting Satan who wants to keep us from obeying God. But every time we disobey God or just totally mess up, he lovingly helps us stand up and try again. That’s his grace in action—grace to forgive us over and over and help us learn from our failures and mistakes. Grace that teaches us. Grace that means he loves us.

What Does the Bible Say about That? will help you understand how God’s love and grace is part of your everyday life. Yep, it is right there in the center of the thoughts, actions, and experiences you have every single day. God cares about every part of your life—the highs and the lows. And he wants you to know that he is not just “called into your life” when you are thinking about him or in church or praying. He’s always with you. So, read what the Bible says about your thoughts, anger, family, friends, even homework (yes, God cares about homework). You’ll see that you’re not on this journey alone. God is right there with you, guiding, helping, and teaching—because he loves you!

1. ABANDONMENT

What Does the Bible Say About Abandonment?
Someone left . . . A parent walked away from the family or your best friend turned his back on you. It hurts when that happens—a lot. Does God care that you feel betrayed and left alone? Of course he cares. He promises never to leave you alone.

What the Bible Says

No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
I will not leave you or forsake you.
Joshua 1:5

For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.
Psalm 94:14

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20

Time to Face the Facts
Humans—people—mess up. Some people get caught up in self-centered ideas and they hurt other people, even people they love. Sometimes they abandon people they love. If that has happened to you, remember that you will never be abandoned by God. He is with you always, and he cares about everything that happens to you.

Today I Will…
Thank God for being with me. Forgive anyone who has left. Read God’s Word and start getting to know him better.

 

2. ABILITIES

What Does the Bible Say About Abilities?
Many people have a secret dream to do something amazing. They dream of being the best athlete ever; a researcher who discovers the cure to some terrible disease; author of a great novel; or maybe a world-class musician. Dreams keep us going sometimes. Does each person have any unique abilities, though? Yep, God gave each person what she needs to be the person he planned.

What the Bible Says

Each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
1 Corinthians 7:7

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 12:6-8

Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.
Matthew 25:21

Time to Face the Facts
You have what you need to serve God. He gave you the tools, but you must develop those abilities. Never fear, though—the seeds are there. Think about what you love to do . . . what brings you joy and what others say you are good at. That’s a good tip as to what God has given you.

Today I Will…
Stop wishing I could do other things and start working at what I’m good at. Ask God to show me how I can use my abilities to serve him.

 

3. ABUSE

What Does the Bible Say About Abuse?
Abuse is no fun. It comes in different forms. It might be from someone constantly telling you that you’re worthless. This constant assault of negative words tears down your self-image and confidence. Abuse can also be physical—being slapped around. Whatever it is, abuse is painful. God doesn’t want you to suffer from abuse. He loves his children, and he tells his children to love one another. God’s plan is love.

What the Bible Says 

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Romans 13:10

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.
1 Corinthians 13:4

Time to Face the Facts
Abuse of any kind is wrong. If you are the victim of abuse, it would be a good idea to tell someone you trust. Your teacher or pastor would be a good place to start. Also, learn from these verses that being the abuser is wrong. God’s desire is for you to love people around you, not hurt them.

Today I Will… 
Talk with someone about my situation if I am the victim of abuse. Think about how I treat others. If my behavior is abusive, I will change it . . . with God’s help.

4. ADDICTIONS

What Does the Bible Say About Addictions?
Imagine having a big, heavy chain wrapped around your ankle. The other end of the chain is attached to a tree. So, you’re tied up, can’t get away. That’s what addiction is like. It controls your thoughts and actions. There are different kinds of addictions: drugs, alcohol, food, Internet, approval are a few. How does God feel about addictions? God wants to control your life. He doesn’t want you to be controlled by whatever you are addicted to.

What the Bible Says 

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 4:24

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
Matthew 6:24

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16

Time to Face the Facts
Honesty time: What’s controlling your thoughts and actions? Is it God or something else? If there’s one thing you plan your life around—one thing you must do every day—then you have an addiction. Bottom line is God wants to be number one in your life. He is jealous of anything else.

Today I Will… 
Be honest. I will evaluate how I spend my time and admit if there is something that has pushed God out of first place in my life. I can’t change that by myself, but I will ask God to help me. His strength can beat anything!

5. AMBITION

What Does the Bible Say About Ambition?
You’ve got drive—you’ve set goals and you’ll do just about anything to reach them. Is that wrong? Nope. Doesn’t God want you to be the best you can be? Sure he does. However, his wish is two-pronged: Be the best you that you can be, but don’t forget to love him and others along the way.

What the Bible Says

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3

But we urge you, brothers, to ... aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
1 Thessalonians 4:10-12

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Galatians 5:26

Time to Face the Facts
Watch it: There’s a fine line between having a lot of ambition and being filled with pride. It’s okay to want to be the best at something, but don’t push other people down in the process of lifting yourself up. Remember, God does want your excellent service but not at the expense of loving others. The greatest commandment is to love God, the second greatest is to love others. Don’t lose sight of that.

Today I Will…
Think about how I am treating other people. I know what my ambitions are, and I don’t want to hurt anyone as I try to reach them.

6. ANGELS

What Does the Bible Say About Angels?
Are angels really those white beings with big fluffy wings that you see in pictures? Do they just kind of float around and sing all the time? Are they more important to God than people are? Here’s the scoop: angels are God’s messengers and workmen. They follow God’s commands in taking care of you. How cool is that?

What the Bible Says

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
Psalm 91:11

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
Luke 1:30-31

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.
Acts 12:7

Time to Face the Facts
Wow! God loves you! He really loves you! He commands his angels to watch out for you; they are probably doing that even when you don’t realize it. You see in Scripture how his angels bring messages to people and how they protect people. It only makes sense that God still uses angels to do those same jobs. Aren’t you so glad God loves you that much?

Today I Will…
Thank God for the zillions of times he has sent his angels to protect me and watch out for me.

7. ANGER

What Does the Bible Say About Anger?
It’s no big deal if you blow your top once in a while, right? Everyone gets angry sometimes. God doesn’t have rules about that, too, does he? Yep. God knows you’re going to get upset ometimes, but he wants you to keep your cool and not say or do things you will be sorry about later.

What the Bible Says 

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
Psalm 37:8

Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
Proverbs 14:29

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. Ephesians 4:26

Time to Face the Facts 
Nothing good ever comes from losing your temper. You say things you shouldn’t say and hurt people when there is no need to. When you’re upset about things, don’t lose your cool. Talk it over and state your feelings without saying mean things.

Today I Will…
Keep my anger in control. If I get upset with someone, I won’t shoot my mouth off; instead I’ll calmly explain my feelings. This way I won’t lose a friend and will get a chance to hang out with this friend again.

 

8. ANIMALS  

What Does the Bible Say About Animals?
From dogs and cats to elephants and lions, our world is filled with amazing animals. Some people take animals for granted, or at least they don’t really think about them. Why did God make animals, anyway? Some kinds of animals are a food source, some are just very cute, and some are important to the environment. God made animals for different reasons, and he was happy with all he created.

What the Bible Says

God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:24-25

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
Hebrews 11:3

Time to Face the Facts
Think about all the different kinds of animals God made and what enjoyment they bring to people. From your pet cat, dog, or tarantula to the amazing big cats or tiny hummingbird, God’s creativity is amazing. He wants you to respect and enjoy his creation. So . . . go ahead.

Today I Will…
Give my pet a hug and a treat. Thank God for every aspect of his creation. Appreciate the variety of that creation.

What Does the Bible Say About That?

Copyright © 2008 by Carolyn Larsen
Published by Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
1300 Crescent Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, except as provided for by USA copyright law.