Low Hanging Fruit

Low Hanging Fruit
by Eric Rank (28)

If you were wandering through a forest, hungry and searching for something to eat, and you stumbled across an apple tree full of ripe fruit, what would you do? The answer is pretty obvious. If you’re like most normal people, you’d reach up and grab the nearest, best-looking piece of fruit you could find, and eat it. If there were a number of ripe apples together within reach, you might even grab a few for the road. But you wouldn’t even consider climbing up the tree to get the fruit on the top branches when the bottom branches have what you want. That takes much more effort. It’s the low-hanging fruit you’d grab.

As Christians, it is our goal to produce fruits worthy of righteousness. To Satan, this is one of the most significant things that sets us apart from the rest of the world. As he wanders around, seeking whom he may devour, the more fruit we produce, the more attractive we look to him as his next victim of temptation. We read from the Bible that Christ was tempted in tremendous ways by Satan himself because He produced such fruits. Individually, you too are a threat to Satan because you have, and act upon, the knowledge about how to live righteously. This makes you look pretty tasty! Satan will not rest in his attempts to deceive you and take away the knowledge and inheritance you have.

If the fruit you produce makes you a target for temptation, what can you do? Fortunately, the answer is simple. Don’t put yourself within Satan’s grasp! If you’re producing fruit worthy of righteousness, make an extra effort to do so on the top branches of the tree. God tells us to draw near to Him, and that He will draw near to us. This places you far out of Satan’s reach because he knows that it would take too much effort to tempt you. No matter how much fruit you produce, if you open yourself up to temptation, the game is over. Vulnerability to temptation places you at the lowest branches of the tree, where Satan can pluck you off easily, and devour! As a Christian, it is your duty to produce righteous fruit, but it is also your responsibility to draw near to God. Doing so will keep you out of Satan’s reach as he hungrily wanders about.

Choose Your Friends Wisely

by Aaron Hooper (19)

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Can the young mind comprehend the profound and vast wisdom in the statement: “Choose your friends wisely”? We young people are such that, simple admonishments must be explained to us in full — with real examples of things that have really happened to real people — and then, it’s still a big “maybe” whether or not we will even believe what we have been told. Wisdom is often the result of experience — and, if applied, can dramatically change the direction of our life. Now, the question is, whether we have faith in wisdom to act on what is right.

In this world, there are a lot of things we may try out of our own curiosity, bravery, and — to a greater degree — stupidity. But, there are an equal, if not greater number of things, that we will not try because of our own conscience — all those things we were taught not to do, that we know are wrong. That is, until we may make new friends, and if they have a lower moral standard than we have, then there are a lot of new possibilities of the things we will do, that don’t seem so bad… After all, our new friends seem like normal people and it seems like nothing bad has happened to them as a result of the things they have been doing.

The funny thing about doing something wrong is that we might not get in trouble right away. Doing wrong is so deceptive, and so easy, and we might even get away with it… for a little while — but, the “fun” won’t last forever. The consequences for doing wrong will always catch up with us sooner or later (probably sooner). And the more we do simple, “harmless” things, the more we may begin to hate ourselves. Also, the more we get involved in these “harmless” activities, the more we will become disconnected from God. We will pay for all the wrong things we have done to ourselves and other people — maybe even for the rest of our lives. But it all could have been easily prevented. Our friends have great impact on our immediate personality and perhaps even our long-term character development. Let us, therefore, choose our friends wisely.

Youth Forum


by Kalon Mitchell (19)

We all know the story of the good Samaritan; how a man lay bleeding in a ditch but most people who saw him turned away. They had things to do, meetings to attend, school to catch. They didn’t want to get their clothes dirty–in essence, they couldn’t be bothered. What about you and me? What would we have done?

Sometimes it can seem like there’s never a break in our activities. We are just too busy with our thoughts and problems to stop and think about others. Have you, maybe, noticed that someone’s feelings were down; that the lawn needed to be mowed; that the trash needed to be taken out, but you felt like you didn’t have time to help? Are you and I just superficial Christians?

What is the opposite of being superficial? Mr. Armstrong used to say that there are two ways to live–the way of give and the way of get. When we give, we practice God’s law of LOVE. When we live this way of life–of taking time to help others–we will still have the time to get the IMPORTANT things done; and we will have a sense of peace in knowing that we have helped to make someone’s life a little better. That’s the way of give—get it?

Youth Forum

Missing Out
by Manuela Link (21)

I have spent my life growing up in God’s Church and have learned the principles of Sabbath-keeping. In doing so, I have restrained myself from participating in activities such as parties, games or sports during the holy day.

One of my favorite activities, if not my favorite activity, is showing my dog(s) at shows. Dog shows take place around the country just about every weekend, on Saturdays and Sundays. I have never attended a show on a Saturday. Because I don’t show my dog on Saturdays, he will never accumulate enough points to become a really recognized show dog. Competitors question my actions all the time, wondering why I don’t bring my beautiful Labrador out more often. It is hard, knowing that I won’t ever be able to show him on a full weekend.

At the same time, I also have to remember that if everyone in the world obeyed God’s commandments, we would have equal opportunities, and dog shows would not be held on Saturdays. I can’t get let down by the things I am not able to do on Saturdays. I have to remind myself that I should be uplifted because of the blessing I have for knowing that I am following God and that He rules everything.

Right now, I am missing out on showing my dog and earning points, awards and recognition, but many in the world are missing out on God’s true way of life. For now, their rewards may be medals, but one day, I will inherit the earth.

Youth Forum

[From the Editors:

We are pleased to introduce a new feature that will be appearing in both this and future Updates. In response to requests to involve a broader segment of our readership, we have invited young people–and that includes the broadest possible definition of “young”–to contribute brief essays and personal commentaries which they feel might be helpful reflections in living Christian lives.

This column’s first author will also serve as coordinator for future articles. Michael Link (24) may be reached through Email at mrmikey24@yahoo.com. We welcome your comments and participation.]

A Constant Challenge

by Michael Link

“We’ve all been there.” That’s what the adults say. “We’re all going through this right now.” That is what the youth are saying. I am right in the middle as a young adult and I can say that I’ve been there, and on the same token, I’m going through it right now. I’m talking about peer pressure. We have all been faced with peer pressure many times, but the important thing is how we learn to deal with it.

There are many ways in which peer pressure can affect us. We go through it at school, at work, with our friends and peers, with the opposite sex, when asked about religion, and when confronted with alcohol and drugs. There are many more ways, but these listed are what I have been faced with personally. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to these situations. I’ve been through it at public school when evolution was being taught, or even at a church school (Imperial Schools) when doctrinal changes started happening in the Worldwide Church of God. I’ve been through it at work when the Sabbath became an issue. I’ve been through it with my friends and people I associated with when I was offered a cigarette and even drugs. I’ve been through it when girls outside the Church wanted to date and have a relationship. I’ve been confronted with religious questions and have been on the “hot seat” several times. These are just a few examples, and I have not always dealt with them perfectly.

We have all done things wrong in the past and we have learned from those mistakes. I can say that I have learned and am learning from my mistakes. However, that doesn’t mean that I am still not faced with peer pressure every day. I now have a better understanding of what it is that I have to do when these situations appear. We must remember that we are never alone. Whenever we are in a sticky situation, just remember that when we are willing to do it right, God backs us up.

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