A New Blog For Teens By Alex Exum – “Spiritual Cravings”

Here is a blog by a teenager, especially for teens! My son Alex Exum, has been through a lot in his short life, and the struggles and temptations of course are not over. Yet in his life of 16 years, he is showing a marvelous transformation as he yields more and more to the Spirit of God who lives within his heart and leads him forward. He shares freely, his past, which was difficult as you will see.

He is always seen carrying his Bible, and if you look inside you will find page after page of verses marked and underlined, as he reads through God’s word.

His goal is to be a Physical Therapist and Missionary. While he wants to help people feel better physically, his greater desire is to share Jesus with everyone.

Teenagers will be blessed through “Spiritual Cravings”, and we recommend this blog highly (of course). Feel free to contact Alex, and grow in grace with him!

LOOK FOR THE LINK UNDER “LINKS” ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THIS SITE and it will take you to “Spiritual Cravings.”

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Suicide – To Die Or Not To Die

The choice is ours even though we had no choice in coming into this world. Yet what lies behind it all? If evolutionists are correct, then I guess ‘not much’! If there is no God, then again, ‘not much’ is the answer.

If there is no God, no absolute and final Authority, Creator, Source of morality… then what is our purpose, and if we don’t want to live… why not just die?
This article is written from a believer’s viewpoint of course. I can admit there have been times when faith was so weak, and questions flooding into my mind as to why all the stress and problems, that the feeling would flood over me to just be ‘done with it all’.
(Obviously the ‘temporary insanity’ passed.)

No one can force a person to live… but finding answers to life’s questions, and finding real purpose in life, can bring the desire no only to live, but live “abundantly”. For those with serious questions on Jesus, and the Authenticity and trustworthiness of the Bible, there are some good resources to research. Josh McDowell is an author which has written some good books on this. One such book is “Questions To Tough Questions”.
Now I don’t agree with his thoughts on how to be saved, but other than this, it’s a good book.

Besides, often people who are feeling ‘hopeless’ need to figure why these desperate feelings are coming. Troubles come to every one… it’s life. We can lessen problems by taking control of things we have control over. Good decisions will have positive results.
Finding faith in Jesus is the best, and most stable way to win over these feelings. Having a real relationship with Jesus at least gives you Someone who will always be with you through ‘thick and thin’. Do this by going to the source of the evidence for Jesus… The Gospels of MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE AND JOHN. Read, read, read… search for answers to life’s questions… The Gospels reveal at least a couple of things… Jesus came to the earth and shows us GOD (John 1). The disciples on the other hand, show us US! These disciples went through some pretty terrible times and a lot of life changes. The most critical time of their lives came when Jesus was betrayed, put on trial, beaten half to death, and then crucified.

Doubts and fears were like a huge black cloud over all of them. They believed in him, but never really, down deep, realized who HE was and IS. At least not until the resurrection. This my friend is the CRUX of Christianity. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then as Paul says in I Corinthians 15:17, “… your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” then in verse 19 “…we are to be pitied more than all men.” That’s putting it lightly!
If on the other hand, Jesus was raised from the dead… that makes all his claims TRUE! Thus one must work through this for themselves, and figure if there is enough evidence on the resurrection of Jesus to form a foundation of FAITH. From there, life begins to change. Purpose and direction and meaning of life come into focus. The longing for heaven becomes real, not just ‘pie in the sky’. Don’t take my word for it, do your own study….

Here are some points to consider:
1. Why would so many people in the first century follow a dead man to the point of giving their lives for an empty cause?
2. Where did the body of Jesus go? The Jewish leaders made sure there was a Roman guard (five or six men), who made sure that the tomb of Jesus was not disturbed.
3. Jesus was buried in the tradition of the time, where he was wrapped in linen strips of cloth (John 19:40). In John  20, we find these same linen strips had (according to the original language) just fallen, or caved in. He was not unwrapped… what would be the reason of this… If one is going to steal the body, just take it!
4. The stone was rolled away… but what about the guards?
5. All the leaders who hated Jesus had to do is PRODUCE THE BODY… Jesus is dead, and Christianity is dead with him.
6. The change in the disciples… who before were scared and hiding, and now were unafraid, and openly proclaiming the risen Lord (Acts).
7. The man who persecuted them… Saul of Tarsus… Read Acts 7-9. He was the champion of the Jews, and had letters to take Christians as prisoners in Damascus…
He HATED CHRISTIANS AND JESUS!!! Read also Galatians 1. Consider this statement….. “THE CHRISTIANS COULDN’T AND THE JEWS WOULDN’T.” The Christians were afraid of Saul, and wouldn’t approach him to try and convert him. The Jews (in general) wouldn’t want him converted, he was their champion. So the question remains, who did it? Who changed Saul? Who made him the Apostle Paul who wrote 14 books of the New Testament? Only one answer… JESUS!
8. Even Josephus spoke of Jesus and his miracles… (Josephus was not a Christian). You can ‘Google’ Josephus and read about him.
9. Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy of the Old Testament that referred to the coming of Messiah. The odds of this would be enormous.
All of this being said, one still has to deal with the problems, questions of life. However, with Jesus it all falls into place. Things we don’t understand (which are many), we trust that in time we will understand as we trust and pray to our Savior for answers. If we receive no answer, we wait. In any case, we wait… James says, that there are things in this life which are intended to strengthen our faith, and help us grow (James 1). God is not the one who tempts… Satan is. Sin is the result of our giving in to temptation.

Growth in grace for the Christian is a fact (Ephesians 2:4-10). Christians are not perfect… but they are forgiven. There’s more truth there than meets the eye. Grace is something that is missing in many pulpits and churches, simply because they are afraid of it. (Study my series on grace for in depth study of the subject.) For now, just know, that what turns a lot of people off are the COLD, RITUALISTIC, NON-RELATIONSHIP BASED religions which are being offered. It may be good enough for others to just go and once

Find your hope, life, purpose, salvation, joy… in the man, JESUS. He is the Son of God, and is alive forever more (Revelation 1). His sacrifice is enough to cover your sins… PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE! No sin… not one sin… is unforgivable (except blaspheming the Spirit… ie calling the work of the Spirit Satanic).

You don’t have to know it all to go to heaven. You just need to know JESUS.
What must a person do to be saved? Read for yourself… Repent and be immersed for the remission of sins in the name (possession) of Jesus and you will also receive God’s Spirit at the same time (Acts 2:37-39; John 3:1-10). Read the book of Acts! See how people… thousands of them… were saved. Do what they did.

Then grow… pray… study… and share the same with others…. Get involved in helping others.

Commit suicide? Never… Why? Because He created you for a reason. You may not know it now… but it will be clear in time. Sometimes it takes time… Read Genesis 37, 39-45. A lot of reading? Sure… but here you will see how God works in someone’s (Joseph’s) life. His song after it was all over was (in my mind), “Now I know… now I know. Many years have come and gone… and I didn’t understand it all… but now I know.” Bake a pie! Take it to someone who does not expect it. Tell them, “Just thinking about you.” Get involved… Take your eyes off yourself… Others are hurting too… Find a purpose in life.

(Read dad’s articles… there’s a lot of wisdom and help there as well.) Feel free to write me if you want to study, or have questions. (“Whoever finds this: I love you”).

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Growing Up

   Being a teenager was tough. Sometimes I thought mom and dad were just not ‘with it’, or didn’t care. (I under estimated them). It’s just that when you are getting made-fun-of because your teeth stick out, and your hair is ‘red’ and your face is covered in freckles, and your chest is not muscular, and you’re just skinny, shy… you just don’t feel right! At least I didn’t. Believe me it was tough. However, even with that, we didn’t struggle with the things you struggle with today. I mean the worst thing kids got in trouble for was smoking behind the gym, or kissing a girl behind the gym, or maybe an occasional fight. When we got in trouble at school, we got in trouble at home. That was ‘capital punishment’ time. Today’s teens stuggle with gangs, and drugs, sex, guns, killings in schools, huge peer pressure, metal detectors, and on and on! I just have a hard time with that. Things have really changed and I will be the first to admit it.
   How to cope and what to do? Well, at least, in spite of the fact that I AM NOT A PROFESSONAL COUNSELOR and am not claiming to be such… I CARE. I hope that our time together will be helpful at least to the extent that you don’t feel alone. You MAY NOT AGREE with some things I say. THAT IS FINE you don’t have to, but it is still a place to come and talk and share. So we begin this adventure together….
   My prayer for you is that God will open up his store-house of blessings and wisdom for you, and that the tough times will be learning and growing times. Which serve to make you better and stronger.
   You can make it through these years, trust me. There is no need to quit, give up, or run.
You are loved beyond belief, by the god of the Universe, and I pray, by your parents. There is where you find you structure, your protection…. If not… there is help. Don’t look to another teenager for it, most times, they are in the same boat, or B.T.D.T (been there done that). 
   More later……. hang in there.

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