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Instruction for Youth
The wisest man who ever lived also had everything his heart could desire. God granted this man not only a wise and understanding heart but also wealth and kingship. Who was he? This man was none other than mighty King Solomon, who lived a long life overflowing with money, power, fame, and a thousand women.

"So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom. And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart" (I Kings 10:23-24).

Yes, Solomon had it all - until his many wives became his downfall. The Bible tells how these women turned away his heart from the one true God. While reflecting back on his life, Solomon poured out a wealth of wisdom for his son in the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. He penned thousands of verses giving instruction on many subjects, from money and hard work to health and romance. He also lamented that all his wealth and fame still did not satisfy him - it was all vanity and "striving after wind" without God.

Young people would do well to heed the wisdom and advice of King Solomon. Those who do so will find a reservoir of godly counsel to guide them around the pitfalls of bad choices and give them joy in life. Those who donít will inevitably fall victim to the sinful temptations of youth and bear the painful consequences of foolish actions throughout their life.

Here, in a nutshell, is wisdom from the heart of King Solomon. Take heed, learn wisdom, and thereby enjoy life!

1. Remember Your Creator

Yes, you do have a Creator! You did not evolve from apes or lower life forms as "scientific theories" would have you believe. The inventors of such theories do not wish to be held accountable to anyone, certainly not to a Creator God who will bring their works to judgment. So many modern-day scientists accredit their existence to mere chance.

Here is the truth: you were designed by a brilliant mind! Every detail of your life was known by a loving God from the beginning of time, and every part of you was fashioned by divine hands. Believe it or not, there really is a purpose for your existence, and you have a destiny to fulfill! The secret in finding out your life purpose is not found in searching the world around you. It is found only when you seek your Creator with all your heart. He wrote the ownerís manual on you, and He knows you better than you know yourself.

Read from the pen of King Solomon:

"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain"
(Ecclesiastes 12:1-2).


Now, keep on reading Ecclesiastes 12 to find a very poetic and somewhat somber description of what itís like to get old.

  • Trembling hands and arms - "In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,"


  • Bent over back/shoulders and frail legs - "and the strong men shall bow themselves,"


  • Loss of teeth - "and the grinders cease because they are few,"


  • Failing eyesight - "and those that look out of the windows be darkened,"


  • Loss of hearing - "And the doors shall be shut in the streets,"


  • Mumbling speech - "when the sound of the grinding is low,"


  • Easily awakened - "and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird,"


  • Can't sing - "and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;"


  • More fears with old age - "Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way,"


  • Season of old age sets in; white hair - "and the almond tree shall flourish,"


  • Small tasks take effort - "and the grasshopper shall be a burden,"


  • Natural drives wane - "and desire shall fail:"


  • Bones break easily; body shuts down - "because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern."


  • Death comes; body returns to the earth - "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
  • As shown elsewhere in Scripture, a person (who is a soul) goes to the grave at death to await one of two resurrections (see John 5:28-29).

    Solomon gives us this melancholy depiction of old age in order to help us realize how short our life really is. Our youthful energy is indeed limited. Those who say they will live for God only when they get old are foolish. First, none of us are guaranteed another day on earth (Proverbs 27:1); and second, old age has a way of hardening those who waste their life. Too many older folks have a lifetime of regret. Your youth is the very best time in your life to seek your Creator!

    A poem by Howard B. Grose (1851-1939) fits well here. It reads, in part:

    Give of your best to the Master;
    Give of the strength of your youth.
    Throw your soulís fresh, glowing ardor
    Into the battle for truth.
    Jesus has set the example,
    Dauntless was He, young and brave.
    Give Him your loyal devotion;
    Give Him the best that you have.

    Give of your best to the Master;
    Naught else is worthy His love.
    He gave Himself for your ransom,
    Gave up His glory above.
    Laid down His life without murmur,
    You from sinís ruin to save.
    Give Him your heartís adoration;
    Give Him the best that you have.

    We need God to "teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). Take to heart the advice of the elderly, for they were once young. The choices you make in your youth directly affect the rest of your life, for good or for harm! This brings us to the next nugget of wisdom from Solomon...

    2. Sow What You Want to Reap

    There are several unchangeable laws of nature regarding sowing and reaping.

    First, you reap what you sow. If you plant lima bean seeds, you will grow lima bean plants. Now, I donít like lima beans very much but no matter how much I wish that my lima bean seed grows into a strawberry plant, it will not happen. I must plant what I want to reap.

    Second, you reap in a different season than you sow. There is a planting season and a harvesting season for all farmers, just as each of us experiences different seasons of life.

    Third, you reap on an increase what you sow. Just one bean seed has the potential to grow a whole plant full of bean seeds.

    What does all this gardening talk have to do with life? Plenty! Here is Solomonís wisdom:

    "Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity" (Ecclesiastes 11:9-10).

    In other words, you can choose what you want to do, but you canít choose the consequences for your choices! So, act wisely and carefully, because you are ultimately accountable to God. You will reap what you sow into your life, whether you sow bad seeds or good seeds.

    The apostle Paul says it this way.

    "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:7-9).

    A person who smokes cigarettes may enjoy it for a season, but donít be deceived: this is merely the planting season. Years later, they will harvest the results of their actions in the form of lung cancer, emphysema, or other painful damage to their health. You can count on this basic law of nature, that of sowing and reaping. Whatever you sow into your life, you can expect to reap. And you will reap the results in a different season, and in a greater proportion to what you sowed.

    A frequent deception of Satan is to get people to forget about the results of their actions by reinforcing instant, momentary pleasure. Is sin pleasurable for a season? Absolutely. Does sin ever bring forth a good harvest? Never! Sin ultimately results in death. But Satan, the great deceiver, doesnít want you to know that.

    The Bible says, "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15). It also tells us, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

    Start sowing good seeds in your life by fleeing from evil and pursuing the treasures of wisdom which are found in the Bible and in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will most certainly reap a harvest of life! Remember Jesusí parable of the sower in Luke 8? The seed that fell on good soil grew into a hundred-fold harvest!

    Where do we get that good seed to sow into our lives? King Solomon tells us that, too!

    3. Fear God and Seek Him First

    Do you get tired of school and studying day after day? If so, you may be relieved to know that King Solomon found it wearisome, too! He said, "of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh" (Ecclesiastes 12:12). I heartily agree.

    Of course there is some profit in reading books, learning, and studying. And some people can benefit from going to college and getting a degree. But if this goal consumes your focus, you will eventually find that more and more learning will not fulfill your deepest needs.

    Why? Because "bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come" (I Timothy 4:8). Paul told Timothy that some people were "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7). Get this: no amount of worldly knowledge is going to complete with the wisdom of Godís Word!

    King David, Solomonís dad, said, "I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation" (Psalm 119:99). He meditated on the words of God day and night, and became wiser than all those who were paid to fill his head with manís knowledge!

    So, how do you get WISDOM? The answer is, learn the fear of the Lord! "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1:7). This wisdom will guide you in all areas of your life. Proverbs also says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (3:5-6).

    What else does the book of Proverbs say about the fear of the Lord? Read these verses out loud to get a better grasp on their meaning.

  • "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil" (Proverbs 3:7).


  • "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate" (Proverbs 8:13).


  • "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10).


  • "The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened" (Proverbs 10:27).


  • "In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge" (Proverbs 14:26).


  • "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death" (Proverbs 14:27).


  • "Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith" (Proverbs 15:16).


  • "The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility" (Proverbs 15:33).


  • "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil" (Proverbs 16:6).


  • "The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil" (Proverbs 19:23).


  • "By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life" (Proverbs 22:4).


  • "Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long" (Proverbs 23:17).


  • "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe" (Proverbs 29:25).


  • Are you starting to see it? The fear of the Lord is turning away from evil and turning toward God with all your heart. It is loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30) - this is the first and greatest commandment. It is seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), and making that pursuit your number one priority!

    If you desire a close walk with God and then seek Him with all your heart, you will not be disappointed. The Lord does not turn away a hungry and repentant heart. Here are the wise words of Solomon: "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding"
    (Proverbs 2:1-6).


    To get wisdom, you have to go to the source of all wisdom: God Himself. When God is first in every area of your life, then there will be no idols in your heart. Every secondary thing lines right up under Him. This is the path to great joy, for the Lord will show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him (II Chronicles 16:9).

    Another amazing thought is that when you fear God, you will not fear anything else! This is because every creature answers to God, and He has the last word. The fear of God is not some half-hearted, wimpy, religious cliché. No, the fear of the Lord is an encounter with your Creator, the God of the universe! The fear of the Lord is when you realize who you are in comparison to Who He is, including His love, His holiness, His mercy - and it sparks a flame of passionate love for God and His Word.

    Dear young person, ask God to teach you the fear of the Lord, then search His Word like youíre digging for buried treasure! You will be well on your way to sowing good seeds in your life and reaping His rewards.

    4. Enjoy the Gifts of Godís Hand

    God loves to bless His children with good things. But we must not allow those blessings to take His #1 place in our heart. We should cherish and be grateful for His gifts, but when we cling tightly to them and turn from the Giver of those things, we are guilty of idolatry: setting up idols in our heart.

    King Solomon knew all too well the danger of work, money, romance, pleasure, knowledge, and power - all temporary things. His heart was turned toward these things, away from God. He found out the hard way that all of life is vanity, a meaningless pursuit of self-indulgence leading to trouble, emptiness, and despair...vanity, that is, without a relationship with the Creator.

    Solomon provides plenty of wisdom regarding the blessings of life from Godís hand. Here are some verses to get you started:

  • Clothing - "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever...The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens" (Proverbs 27:23-27).

  • Discipline - "My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth"
    (Proverbs 3:11-12).


  • Family - "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother" (Proverbs 1:8). "A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother" (Proverbs 10:1). "Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers" (Proverbs 17:6). "Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness" (Proverbs 20:20).

  • Food - "Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it" (Proverbs 25:16). "Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me" (Proverbs 30:8).

  • Friends - "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not...walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path" (Proverbs 1:10, 15). "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed" (Proverbs 13:20). "Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favor" (Proverbs 14:9).

  • Health - "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).

  • Marriage - "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones" (Proverbs 12:4). "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies" (Proverbs 31:10). "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land" (Proverbs 31:23).

  • Pain & Adversity - "In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him"
    (Ecclesiastes 7:14).


  • Pure Heart - "The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words" (Proverbs 15:26). "He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend" (Proverbs 22:11).

  • Rest - "When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet" (Proverbs 3:24). "The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep"
    (Ecclesiastes 5:12).


  • Sexual Desire - "And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?" (Proverbs 5:20). "Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death" (Proverbs 7:25-27). "Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

  • Wealth - "Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven" (Proverbs 23:5). "For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it" (Ecclesiastes 7:12).

  • Wisdom - "She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her" (Proverbs 3:15).

  • Work - "And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 3:13). "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). "By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through" (Ecclesiastes 10:18).

    You will find many more nuggets of wisdom like these in the treasure chest of King Solomon, the book of Proverbs.

    Conclusion

    After living his life, King Solomon concluded that to fear and obey God is more important than anything else. Because, he says, "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14). The fear of God and finding His wisdom is the path to a joyful life.

    Paul counseled the young man Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (I Timothy 4:12). Instead of adults looking down on teenagers and despising the folly of adolescence, Paul tells Timothy to set the high bar for the adults!

    Young men and women, set a high standard of godliness for others by your words, your way of life, your Christ-like love, your passionate zeal of the Word, your steadfast trust in God, and your pure heart. And donít forget to "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (II Timothy 2:22).

    My prayer is that you would have the courage to purge out anything in your life that keeps you from a close walk with your Creator. The Almighty God wants to be the pilot of your life, taking you on a magnificent adventure called abundant living in Jesus Christ. It is deeply fulfilling and eternally rewarding. Are you willing to seek Him with all your heart?

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    Tips for Teens
    Feelings can be fickle; don't always base your actions on them.
    Drugs and alcohol are not a great escape from reality; they destroy your brain cells and inhibit your decision making.
    Honor your mother and father and those placed in authority over you. God placed them over you for your benefit.
    Sex outside of marriage can have drastic consequences. It can lead to unexpected pregnancies, sexually transmitted disease, and ungodly soul ties. God designed sex in marriage for good, but the devil twisted and perverted it by making it "attractive" outside of marriage.
    Suicide to escape life's problems is never the answer. Don't be fooled: suicide is pre-meditated murder. Turn to Jesus; He will provide a means of escape you can live to talk about!
    Satanism, ouija boards, Dungeons and Dragons, Talk to the Angels game, Wicca ("white witchcraft"), vampirism, and horoscopes are deceptive and extremely dangerous; they should never be taken lightly or used as fun ways to explore the supernatural. Dabbling in the occult will give the devil footholds in your life.
    Use discernment with regards to the games and toys you play with. They often carry unwanted additives such as violence and the occult. Remember those "loveable smurfs"? Well, Papa smurf was a warlock (male witch) and the smurfs were his blue demons. Yikes! I never caught that as a kid growing up.
    Realize that Hollywood isn't called "Broadway" for no reason! The Bible says that "broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat" (Matthew 7:13). Every filthy and vile act has been portrayed on the big screen, from murders and adulteries to witchcraft and mockeries of God's Word - all in the name of entertainment. Watching such things will inevitably cause you to compromise your Christian walk.
    Don't be concerned about peer pressure. You're a lot better off being a eagle than being a hen in the coop.
    Be careful of the music you listen to. Music was created by God to praise and worship Him alone. Songs recorded in the Bible (many in the Book of Psalms) were inspired by God and written down by men of God. It is important to note that man can be inspired by God, by his own carnal mind, or by the devil. One should only listen to music inspired by God; music that praises and exalts his name. Music is extremely powerful and addictive. Want to know why? Well, because music carries different spirits. It can be peaceful and joyful; however, it can also be violent, sexually immoral, and even satanic. When a person listens to music, spirits will have an influence on him, either for good or for bad. Therefore, use discernment in regards to what music you listen to.

    Terry Watkins of Dial-the-Truth Ministries sharply points out the The Dirty Little Secret about Rock's Teen Idols, namely The Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, and Britney Spears.
    When choosing a church, make sure the pastor preaches out of the Bible, the Word of God (King James version preferred), and Jesus and the cross are being preached.

    Remember, Jesus is the only way to heaven - not works, being a good person, performing so-called penance, being baptized, partaking in sacraments, or taking pilgrimages to "holy" meccas. The only way you can be saved is by trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and allowing Him to purge away your sinful ways. To find out more, please visit the Plan of Salvation.

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