Where Are You Planted?

Plants are little miracles.

We squint at the seed pinched between our fingers, and all we see is a hard, smooth shell some shade of brown or black or yellow. Yet we clear a spot in the dirt, drop the seed into the ground, and tenderly cover it back up expecting flowers or vegetables or trees to come from it. How does that happen? Although we only see a hard shell, inside that shell is an organism that grows when certain conditions are met. Water, oxygen, sunlight, and soil work together to bring forth that seed’s full potential.

Like the seed, each person has potential. There is something working inside the spirit that yearns to bloom forth vibrant and glorious. But as we experience life, we encounter withering conditions. The clouds of sickness or job loss or financial difficulties block the sun. We experience drought as loved ones fail us or even abandon us. And we root ourselves in activities and experiences that may be toxic instead of nurturing. Yet God promises that if we plant ourselves in the right soil, we will flourish. The psalmist says in Psalm 92:13, “Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.”

As a young child, I was planted by my parents in the house of the Lord. Everything in my life revolved around Him. I listened to Dan and Louie tell Bible stories on audio tapes as I played or lay down to sleep.1 I listened to Christian music that taught me about God’s character and the need for me to surrender to Him. And every time the doors of the church were open, I was there to learn about God and be around His people. As I grew, my family studied the Bible together at the kitchen table, and I learned how to serve the Lord in the church. Although work and schooling and other activities have since been grafted into my life, my roots have stayed entrenched in the house of the Lord.

I have experienced the turbulence that harsh life conditions bring. I have experienced losses and disappointments. But through it all, I have continued to grow because of where I have been planted. My church family is dear to me, and we share a bond of support and love that helps nurture us during uncertain times. God’s Word provides the life-giving water of refreshment and strength, and His light of truth stimulates growth, drawing us to stretch heavenward.

Where are you planted? Where is your family planted? It is never too late to transplant ourselves into soil that will bring growth. God promises that if we are planted in Him, we will flourish throughout our lives and into eternity.

1. Dan and his dummy Louie tell amazing “Stories from the Castle”—the Bible-land Storybook Castle! You can get a subscription or download these stories at https://danandlouiestories.com/

Hey Teen! Does God Answer Prayer?

Once, an older gentleman asked me if God had ever answered any of my prayers.

Instead of some miraculous story, I shared a simple answer to a fear I had. Driving scares me, especially when I have to merge onto the highway–a fear that partly stems from the time I slid off the highway on snow and crashed into the guardrail.

After Holts Summit’s 3rd of July celebration a couple of years ago, I began driving home only to find Summit Drive blocked and traffic being directed toward the highway.

The highway. In the dark. On probably the busiest night of the year. As I gripped the steering wheel, I prayed aloud, “Lord, don’t let me die. Don’t let me wreck.”

Just before I turned to the on-ramp, a thought wisped through my mind: “The outer road—isn’t there an outer road on the other side of the highway?” I had never taken that road before, but I passed over the highway and found that outer road, making it home safely. My Heavenly Father had answered my cry.

The gentleman waved his hand dismissively. “That’s coincidence.”

But I knew that it wasn’t. When I pray to God my Father, He does not answer aloud. He gives me a true thought, He gives me answers through the Bible, and He sends people to share truth with me. And when He does, I know the message is from Him.

Whom are you praying to?

You see, many people say that they pray, but that does not mean that they are praying to God their Father. Some people pray to the universe or nature. Some people pray to statues that they have proclaimed to be gods. Some look to the stars for guidance. Some even pray directly to Satan, who is a liar and destroyer.

But the only One who can actually help us—the only One who truly cares about our deepest worries, fears, and pains—is the One who created us. He created us to have a relationship with Him. Then, when we broke off our relationship with Him through our sin, God sent His Son, Jesus, to bring us back together through His death on the cross.

It’s hard to explain the voice of God and how I know God was speaking to me on the road that night. You have to experience it for yourself. And to experience it, you have to get to know God, your Creator and Redeemer. Start with reading Psalm 139. There you will find just how big and thoughtful and caring the Heavenly Father is.

Originally published in the Holts Summit Community Newsletter.

Hey Teen! Is God Dead?

Mary saw and talked to God Himself. Although she had been possessed with seven demons, Jesus—God the Son—demanded that they leave her alone. And she was free of her tormentors. She had a new life! In this new life, she followed Jesus, watched Him teach and heal, and served Him in His travels.

Then, God died.

Two Deaths

Mary watched Jesus’ trail in horror as people falsely accused the One who saved her and then condemned Him to death. She staggered behind Him as He carried His cross to “the place of the skull.” She watched Roman soldiers nail His hands and feet to a cross and felt like screaming as He struggled and struggled to breathe and then cried, “It is finished!” And then He was gone. Dead. As she watched men carry Him to a cave for burial and seal it with a stone, her new life was buried and sealed too.

One Quest

The next three days were dark and surreal. But on Sunday morning, she got up with a few other women, determined to anoint Jesus’ body with spices and perfumes. He deserved that honor. It seemed an impossible task between facing Roman guards and rolling away that giant stone. But when they got there, the guards were gone, the stone was moved, and Jesus’ body was gone! This was too much for Mary. She would not be able to see even His body again. She would not have a chance to say one last goodbye to the One who gave her a second chance at life. Maybe those cruel people were mutilating His body even more. Had they not done enough?

But God

Then, as she wept at the grave, a man approached. “Why are you crying?” the man asked. Through gulps, all Mary could say was, “Please, tell me where my Lord is!”


The tone. The voice. Her name. She looked up in disbelief. “Master!” It was Him! He was here! He was not a ghost or a spirit. He was physically standing there, smiling at her with compassion. And then she understood: God Himself could not stay dead, for He is life. Mary trembled with excitement. Her new life was not over because her God lived. She served a living Savior!

Your Hope

Dear Teen, God lives. We do not have to live a tormented life that ends in eternal death. Seek God. Tell Him that you want the life that He gives. He promises that if you seek Him, you will find Him just as Mary did.

He is risen indeed!

Originally published in the Holts Summit Community Newsletter.

Hey Teen! Do You “Get” God?

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13

Job’s life was chaos. In one day, all of his children died and all his wealth disappeared. True story! Then he got big painful boils all over his body that made him absolutely miserable.

When Job asked his friends why God would let this happen to a good guy like him, the accusations started flying: “Come on, Job, don’t tell us that you’re a good guy!” “Yeah, Job, obviously God is punishing you. You must’ve done something really bad.”

Some friends, right?

Job wanted to confront God about this disaster. He didn’t get it! Nothing about this was fair. Job had loved God and always tried to do the right thing. And God finally spoke.

God Speaks

God said, “Hey Job, who made the dinosaurs? Do you know how big the earth is? Have you ever walked on the bottom of the deepest sea? Can you touch the stars? How many clouds are there?”

“Can you tame the fire-breathing sea monster that I created?”

Now, God was not trying to make light of Job’s situation, and He was not showing off. He was showing Job who He was.

And do you know how Job reacted? Job looked at God’s creation, saw how intricately designed and marvelous it was, and he knew that he could trust God even when he did not understand his circumstances.

Knowing God Brings Faith

You see, Job’s faith was rooted in knowing God Himself—His love, mercy, power, and wisdom.

You can have that kind of faith—a faith that brings hope and purpose. Get to know your Creator. He tells you all about Himself in His book—the Bible. Ask Him to show you what He showed Job. You will find a God you can trust in the middle of chaos.

Tip: Use an app such as Tecarta Bible—It has great sound effects!—and learn the reason for the chaos in Job chapter 1.

A “Word” to Ponder: “I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number.” –Job 5:9–10

About the Author

Carmen is a youth leader at Faith Baptist Church. She loves serving the Lord while hanging out with her family and church family. She would love to talk with anyone–young or old–who wants to know more about her Creator and Redeemer. You can email her at faithbaptistchurchholtssummit@gmail.com.

Originally published in the Holts Summit Community Newsletter.