Friday, August 18, 2017

Eternally Joyful

Anyone can be happy when things are going their way, but how can you have joy when life sucks? When everything seems to be against you? How do you smile and laugh without a friend to share it with? How do you joke around when you're failing classes? How can you have time to play when you're working all of the time?

News flash: Life doesn't always work the way that you want it to. Everyone gets sad, scared, angry, or stressed at some point. We all have bad bad days but the fact is, grumbling doesn't make anything better. In fact things actually get easier when we can smile about them.

You always have something that you can be happy about even on your worst day. If you are having trouble fining your happiness find one thing in your day that was good and smile. Even if you don't want to because sometimes just simply smiling will make you feel better just like how laughing is contagious. The thing that makes you happy could be as simple as you're wearing your favorite shirt that day, or you got a good grade on your math test.

Why is it that we let the smallest bad thing ruin our day, but a good thing doesn't make it better? We need to start looking at the day as a whole and not just a single incident. When you have the perspective view of everything that happened you often find that the day was better than you thought.

Even if it isn't though there is always one thing that will always be joyful and we will always have. Jesus rose again, that fact alone is something that can make you joyful on a bad day. Remember earth is only our temporary home. We have an eternal home in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ. When we get to heaven we will always be joyful.

As school is getting ready to begin I would encourage you to look at your bad days with perspective because there is always something that we can be joyful about.
Until Next Time,

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Best Friend Breakups

Why do friendship breakup? How do people who could tell each other their biggest secrets suddenly hate talking to each other? 

Friendships are a complicated thing, but one thing is for certain, without them we would all be miserable. C.S Lewis once said, "Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival." 

People weren't made to go through life alone. In the garden of Eden, Adam had Eve. Jesus had his twelve disciples. David had Johnathan. We lose our friends all the time. Why you might ask? I think we have a few big problems when it comes to losing friends. 

  1. We get overly offended. Friends make mistakes, but part of being friends is forgiving, but also knowing when we need to be forgiven. We can hold grudges or false opinions over the stupidest of things. When our friends make mistakes that tends to be all that we see. I think we forget what it's like being the one asking for forgiveness. We breakup friendship over things that don't even matter. I think we're all guilty of being blinded by one mistake that our friend made and we can't even see the mistakes that we made. When I was little, there was this girl who is one of the nicest people that I know, but I would never talk to her. Want to know why? You can laugh, I won't get offended, but keep in mind I was like five. She had a birthmark of her cheek and for whatever reason I didn't like it. I had my one friend and I didn't need to be nice to anyone else. I was a mean girl when I was younger. I eventually did talk to this girl. We were at Taekwondo camp at our church, and she got me to talk to her because: A) there weren't that many girls there, and B) she bribed me with string cheese. I consider that girl one of my best friends now, and we still hang out  a lot. Mostly we laugh at each other being stupid. When I'm around her, I laugh more in one day than I usually do in one week. The point is that we all have a story of ourselves being mean. Maybe you weren't as mean as I was, but there are times in all of our lives that we do things to our friends we aren't proud of. Remember your mean self next time you want to get overly offended by a friend's actions. 
  2. Lack of communication. Ever notice how the little things bother us the most? We don't bring it up because we don't want to bother our friend over something so trivial, so it sits there like a dormant volcano getting bigger and bigger until... Kaboom! You have an explosion on your hands. This minor issue is now a huge fight because you let it continue to grow and become a huge problem. You have to bring up your worries to your friend. remember they are your friend no matter how small it seems. If it's important to you it should be important to your friend.    
  3.  We try to have too many friends. You can't have a good relationship with 500 people. To have a real friendship you have to really get to know someone. We lose our friends because we have so many that it doesn't seem like a loss. "Oh you don't want to be my friend, well I have 500 others; I don't need you." A true friend takes time to get to know you. I have a friend that I have known for as long as I can remember, and I still learn new things about her. As people change, friendships change. They take time and effort, the kind of time that can't be divided between that many people. One of my favorite examples of a true friend is Samwise Gamgee from my favorite movie series, the Lord of the Rings. Frodo yelled at him and he trusted Gollum (a creature conspiring to kill him),over Sam. Frodo even sent him back home and he still went on after his friend. At the end when Frodo has used the last of his strength, Sam carried him the rest of the way. He was there when Frodo needed him most. So I ask, do you want 500 Facebook friends or one Samwise Gamgee?

Until Next Time,

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Christian's Hope

What is Hope? Why is it important? Where can I find it when things are hopeless? 

I looked up the word hope in the dictionary, and do you know what I found? Nine different definitions of the word. Most of us tend to think of hope as the verb; to believe, desire, or trust, or the noun the feeling that things will turn out for the best. The final definition of hope was to place trust in or to rely. I think for Christians that this one should be most accurate, but isn't. As Christians we have the ability to take our problems strait to God. The bible tells us in Hebrews 13:5 "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you," 

If we look at hope as a trust in God then it become one of the most critical pieces of being a Christian. There is more to life than just aimlessly going on waiting for something to happen; thinking about how life sucks all of the time, especially when one is a Christian. As a Christian you should be able to trust that God will take care of the future. If you trust that God loves you and is going to take care of you then the hard places in life become easier to deal with. Will it still be hard? Yes, but that's life.

No situation is ever hopeless. When you have no hope it's because you chose not to have hope. I will say that there are some places that everyone comes to where hope and sometimes faith seem lost. Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard you try you can't seem to believe that God will work it out in the end, but life without hope sucks. I going through one of those times right now. It's hard to believe that something good comes out of it. God has a plan and sometimes we have to learn the hard way. If something in you is going to harm God's plan for your future, then he's going to do what he has to do to weed it out of you. I think that it makes God sad watching some of the things we go through. God describes himself as a father, and the hardest thing that a parent has to do is watch their children suffer. "What time I am afraid I will trust in thee," Psalms 56:3. I think the reason that trials are hard is because the outcome is important to us and we fear how thing will end. After all it wouldn't be a trial if it wasn't important to us, it would just be more annoying drama. We don't have to be afraid of what's going to happen we can trust that God will take care of us.

We all face trials in our lives and sometimes things just seem hopeless. We do have an  advantage over life; we have Jesus. Jesus is a Christian's hope, and even when you can't feel it he is always there for us. 

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Setting an Example

Setting an example should be one the MOST important roles in our lives as Christians.

Although I know it can be hard living in the world we are in, temptations are in every corner, and when we do fall to them we need turn to God and ask him for his mercy and grace once more.
I have a story, a rather embarrassing story on my part, that goes along to the theme of this writing. It was the first semester of Freshman year and I was still getting used to the school and new people in my class. I was warned of a boy (we'll call this guy Bill) in our class who had a reputation of doing bad things and was said to hate Christians. Bill was scary, tall, wore dark clothes and had shoulder length hair and wore what looked like satanic shirts to me (but were actually just really weird and scary looking heavy metal band T-shirts.) He had just recently told me and my sisters that he hated us after I had invited him to join us in the devotions we had just started at the school. So Bill did NOT like me AT ALL.

It was just after first period and people were crowding the hallways and moving on to their next class. I recognized the back of my sister Kenzie, heading to English class, and pushed through the throng of people to get to her. Once behind her I asked. "Hey Kenzie, how's the first day going?" and patted her back.

But when she turned around my heart dropped to my stomach. It was NOT Kenzie... IT WAS BILL!!! Mortified I quickly apologized for my mistake. "Sorry! I thought you were my sister." I said and ran off to my class, not even bothering to look at the reaction on his face.
I couldn't approach him for MONTHS and really didn't want to untill our world history teacher paired us together for a project. We became more acquainted with each other and since I knew he was an atheist and didn't take to the idea of Christianity, I tried in subtle ways to approach the topic.

Two years later and I'm still trying to make a difference in Bill's life, I haven't noticed any improvement but hopefully that will soon change. Living the Christian life in front of Bill is the best thing I can do right now and maybe God will offer the opportunity again for me to talk to him.

Living the Christian life should be a very important aspect in what Christians do, although it is hard its not impossible.


"Some people will never come to church, listen to a preacher or read a Bible. They're reading your life and watching how you live. Be the light God called you to be!" - Anonymous

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Happy Birthday

Everyone loves a good birthday party. 

I bet we all have that dream party that we're just waiting to have. What does yours look like? Is it fancy or laid back? Is it loud or quiet? Just a few people or everyone you know?

If you're wondering why we're talking about birthdays, don't worry it's not completely random. It is my birthday, February 9th.  I think you would be surprised however to find out the year. 2016. No. That's not a typo. My birthday is February 9, 2016. 

Is that the day I was physically born? No. What it is though, is my spiritual birthday. 

What are we celebrating, when we have a birthday party? Congratulations. You didn't die this year. A spiritual birthday is a much better reason to celebrate. I have now officially known the Lord for however many years it is for you. 

I am excited because for  me the answer is that I have now officially known the Lord for one whole year. Isn't that great. I was the kid who grew up in church. I've been going to the same church for 14 years now. Exactly one year ago something changed. We had a guest speaker talking about how you know you're saved. That's when it hit me- I didn't know.  Yes I knew all about Jesus, but I didn't know Jesus. I know it was real because I am not really an emotional person, but that was an emotional night for me. I brought my best friend down to the alter with me because I didn't want to go down alone, and the pastor did say if you were embarrassed or afraid to come alone bring the person  standing next to you. I was a little embarrassed and afraid that my best fiend would laugh at me because she thought that I was already saved or because I am a normally fearless person. She didn't and it ended up being the best day of my life. Jesus was there and I knew he always would be. If there ever was a marshmallow teddy bear that's what the embrace of the Lord would feel like. Comforting like a teddy bear. Soft like a marshmallow and warm.

I remember getting teary eyed telling the story to my friends and family. Don't tell anyone, but even a little bit now. 

Next time you need an excuse for some joy don't forget that knowing Jesus is the best reason we have to party.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Puzzle Pieces

I have a necklace with a few charms on it and the smallest, least noticeable is the cross. Every time I wear it I start to think about how that's the opposite of how we should live our lives.

There are lots of people who live their lives believing in the existence of God but never having a relationship with him. They go to church on Sunday morning then forget about him until next Sunday or when they need something.

I think oftentimes Jesus is the piece of the puzzle we put in last. The piece where it just fits in the holes. What we need to do is make him the corner piece. That's the piece that we tend to place first; the piece that all the others are place around.

We all have had times like this, me for sure, but we don't have to stay like that. I have a couple ideas to help us stay thinking about The Lord:
  1. Find God in things that we see everyday.
There are lots of opportunities to see God in our everyday lives that we just walk right past. Just look around you; God gave you life and he gave you a family, whether its one you were born into or just people you consider to be you family. Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  

      2. Tell a Christian friend and challenge each other.

If you have a friend trying to get closer to God with you then it will be easier for certain people because you have someone to keep you accountable. Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.

     3. Start a daily devotional or pray before you go to school everyday.

If you start each day with a bit of wisdom from the Lord you may find that your school days get a little easier. Not because it's simply easier, it may even get harder to keep you away from God, but because He's already on your mind, so it becomes easier to take problems to him. Psalms 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 

Try one of these strategies throughout this week and see if  it gets easier to keep God as the corner piece of your life.

Until Next Time