Blessed

This week wasn’t the hottest and I came to youth group struggling with my future and other stuff. God loves me so much and during one of the songs I really felt like my soul left the building. I was numb and God just renewed my spirit… I can’t describe it all. As I was driving home I was just reminded of all the stuff I’ve been blessed with. I didn’t cry… I wept lol. I don’t know what my future is going to be or where I am going but God has my heart and that’s all that matters…  I want others to know God can do the same thing in yours. I’m not a perfect person at all, God has just utterly changed me. No matter where you are, God will find you where you’re at and love you like only He can 🙂

Because of the …

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. Lamentations 3:22-24

God gives us new surprises everyday! Take them in stride because he doesn’t want us to slow down. So if your life changes, don’t fight it. Embrace the changes and use the gifts he has given to you to the glorification of his name! Always wait on him.

God and the three main phases of Life

There are three untouchable dimensions in life that will never change because God has made them that way and they each have their own way of impacting our lives. These are the past, present and future. God gives us specific guidelines on how to use each of these processes to continue to grow in him. Life looks so complex to the human race because they believe that they can do it alone. When you let God rule your life it becomes MUCH simpler. He’s the only one with the keys to the kingdom and if you strive to please him every second of your life then he will let you in. We as humans are flawed big-time (myself included) and we sometimes end up judging people based on stuff they’ve already left behind. This is wrong because the blood of Jesus has washed us whiter than snow. As soon as we join him our sins go to the bottom of the ocean floor never to return. People on earth feel like they haven’t though and often don’t let go of certain stuff. It also is the same with the future. It is unfair to assume that since somebody did something in the past that they’re going to do it in the future. People change for the better 🙂 So I’ll go in depth about all these topics but before that I’m going to add a quick paragraph about what I thought I was going to be when I was a kid 🙂 After that we’ll hit up all three dimensions of life.

I visited colleges last weekend (one of which looks like my home) and I can’t believe that I’m almost to college 🙂 A friend asked me a little while ago what I wanted be when I was a younger kid. I actually wanted to be a professional baseball player or enter the military. I knew all the stats for baseball (like I do for soccer now) and I knew most of the players on all the baseball teams (same again for soccer). Besides, the military looks really easy to a six year-old. You just shoot all the bad guys and kill them… that is certainly not how it goes down in real life. Funny how those things change and even though it’s unlikely I still want to be a professional soccer player haha. Even if you think there is no hope, don’t let your dreams die, I’m not giving up! I’ll be as good as Pele someday 😉 About half a year ago I committed to getting my masters in history and becoming a history professor. Of course, I’ve bounced around some other ideas all the way up to this summer, when God solidified the history profession. Let me think… military, sports manager, banker, personal trainer, sports radio broadcaster, doctor (anything with laughing gas lol), pastor, stock broker and probably about 20 other ideas all around. It feels weird looking back at my whole life. Gosh, I don’t even remember the details of most of it besides the last few years haha… but it has been pretty cool. The ups and downs have sort of evened each other out. My friends are so AWESOME!!! Just a random observation- some people are scared to head into college, get a job and walk into the future. I’m certainly not because I know that my God is at my side and will give me direction in all the matters of my life. I don’t boast in myself, but I boast in Him who is right next to me and wants the best for me. Don’t be worried about the future. Some people will think I’m saying just chill and don’t do anything to advance your life because God will come in and make everything right. Nothing could be further from the truth; I’m just saying that you should just do whatever God wants you to do and leave everything else in his hands. Can’t wait to do whatever he wants me to do the rest of the year and beyond! Alrighty, let’s dive into the main part of this post 🙂

                So we’ll start with the past. How does God want us to use our past? I think the first thing we have to acknowledge is that God has given us the experiences in life that he does so that we can use them the rest of our lives. Concerning our mistakes, the actual mistakes DON’T matter anymore. Don’t let anyone tell you they do because they don’t and your mistakes can’t touch you anymore because they have been forgiven by grace of God. God’s grace pretty much overrides anything else so you’re covered! However, God gave you these things to improve yourself and instead of letting your mistakes define your past use them to keep yourself from making the same type of mistake now and in the future. EVERY experience we get in life, good or bad, has an essential message that we need to take into account for the rest of our lives. Another thing is that God wants us to use the past to remember the wonderful things he has done in our lives. Personally, I know that when I’m feeling depressed it is good to remember that God is still there with me and better times are on the way. Now it may take awhile for the trial to end and the blessings to come; however, based on my experiences from the past they WILL come. So that’s always a super-good reminder because if you look back at your past you will see that this scenario has played itself out in your life before… and when thoroughly examined you will see that God has provided for you 🙂 Always remember that the past isn’t the main key to the present and future but the experiences that we’ve been given by God will usually be able to help us make godly decisions now.

The present time. Right now. My moment (anybody know who sang this song? Bonus points if you can remember lol. Comment your guess). My time. This moment. All me. These are all phrases that represent the feeling of most Americans about the present. They really believe that they, as one person, are the only ones who can make the difference. They honestly believe that their life is 100% in their own hands; they make their own decisions and that they control their own destiny. So have said billions of people who went down to the grave lol. Just a few famous ones- Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Joseph Stalin… the list could go on forever. You do need to live in this moment, but you can’t do it by yourself. You need the strength of God because he will show you the right decisions that need to be made.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be open.” Matthew 7:7-8

With the wisdom he gives you, you don’t need to back down from the decision; you can embrace them. Take advantage of every single opportunity that God gives you and do whatever needs to be done in that situation. Just let go of yourself and let God take you wherever you need to go.

Talking about the future is always weird because we obviously don’t know exactly what is going to happen haha. The main thing God says about the future is not to worry. God loves you so much that he has everything in your future covered for you. Now, it is not going to be all butterflies and daisies, but everything will be for your good. Matthew 6:25-34 is the BEST scripture concerning the future. My favorite is the last verse.

                “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Another epic verse from a beyond epic God lol:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Something that people don’t often know is that Jeremiah 29 was written to the exiled Jews in Babylon. These people were already distressed because they obviously had been taken from their homeland and most likely were blaming God for what happened to them. They didn’t open their eyes to see that this was a punishment for their sins and that God wanted to bring them back to his fold. It is an example to us of trusting God’s plan. Sometimes the tough stuff in life is a punishment for our sins or it is a trial that God is using to make us more in his image. Just remember- God is in control of it all 🙂

                The phases of life are ever so more complex than the three parts I divided it into lol! This was just a good general overview. I’m thinking about maybe going more in depth into each of these topics- we’ll see what God wants me to write about. Anyways, just remember… Past: Mistakes don’t matter, just use them to not make the same mistakes now. Present: Seek to glorify God with every single moment of your life even when it is tough. Future: Just trust Him 🙂

P.S. I owe you one 🙂  

 

Trusting God for Your Future

Don’t be afraid of the future because it is whatever God has planned for you! Some people are afraid of messing up before they even get started… you just need to trust God. Pray to him before you do anything and commit all the things that you do into his hand. I know the future can be intimidating, sometimes the numbers just don’t add up for money in college or it’s the reality of having to get a real job. Put that behind you because it really doesn’t matter. God has the final plan and if it means the path seems unsure to you then that’s God’s way of getting you to trust him more. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled Psalm 17:5

Just let God have it all

What does God require you to do with your life? Well, there is a LOT of different answers that are all viable but I think this answer encompasses what God wants from you. The only thing God requires of you is to live every second of your life completely for him and glorify him in everything you do. While that’s a general statement, it takes up your whole life. To give a radical representation, you want God to spread through you like a disease. I want God to penetrate every single part of me and I want to lose myself in him. I want people to see me and know that I’m different! I think that’s where a lot of Christians in today’s society fall short. They hold on to what they want and don’t fully surrender their souls to God because they feel like they don’t need to. They buy into the lies that you can live your life by yourself and God will just help out where you need help. That is so wrong because we need God’s help all the time whether we feel like we’re on the mountaintop of Mt. Everest or at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. He’s the one who put us on the mountaintop and he’s also the one who’ll pull us out of the trench. Let’s explore this…

                I think one of the key problems that face God’s church is holding on to the coming generation (my generation). To a certain extent, I do think my generation is judged harshly because people just don’t think we can make a change. The stereotype of teenagers is stuck in people’s minds far too much, even Christians forget where Paul says to Timothy “ Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12). However, when you look at churches across the U.S. the teenagers are treated like they’re already lost. Instead of trying to grow their faith, most youth groups are based on trying to keep the teenagers from leaving Christianity. The problem is that with this approach you don’t truly grow their faith and you either lose them or they are forced to figure it out on their own. From personal experience, I know that a chunk of them fall away to the lures of Satan. You see, these teenagers aren’t shown what God really can do for you. Since they haven’t been taught a lot about him they don’t get to where they have that true relationship with their heavenly father. This feels wrong, because it is lol! God wants a one-on-one relationship with you… and unless you have that you are never going to be satisfied. The problem is that many teenagers aren’t helped enough to see that and since it feels wrong they just go find something else to temporarily satisfy themselves. And then something else… and then something else… and they enter the cycle of looking everywhere for something to fill themselves up except the one place where it can be found. While I think that steps are being taken to amend the damage that’s already been done, I think it really is only going to be God who can save our generation! Nobody else has the power to do it. I know that was really negative, but that’s what is going on. Let’s switch to some positive stuff haha!

                Conversely, I think that one of the best things about my generation is that those who do believe in God are so mature in their faith and are ready to change the world for him. It is such a rough environment to live for God in today’s schools and just wherever else you go Satan is standing there ready for you. It makes you seek that strength that only God can give you and it makes teenagers stand for God because they realize that he is the only thing to live for! They see 1 Timothy 4:12 and get excited about making a difference for God. I’ve been blessed to have a ton of God-fearing teenaged friends that are all committed to spreading God to those who need to hear it. I speak for myself and a lot of other teenagers I know, we want to make that mark for God!! These are the people that God has intercepted to carry out his will and I know they live their lives out in a way that honors Him 🙂 I can say that for me personally all the experiences God’s given me in life have all been for a reason. Don’t despair in the trials, he loves you and only wants to bring you closer to him so he can enter your life. My life hasn’t been pretty (in fact, if anything it’s been ugly), but now that I can look back at what happened to me 3+ years ago I know God was with me all the time no matter how much I doubted him. I tried to pretend like he didn’t exist because I didn’t feel like he was any help, but he pursued me and waited for me. Despite the fact that I ran as far away as I could from him, he pulled me back into his arms. I now have realized that he is the only thing worth living for because his love absolutely outranks anything else because it is fast, furious, permanent, unchanging etc. it is simply perfect. I try my very best everyday to shine his glory and I know so many other people who have had somewhat similar experiences that looked bad but ended up positively shaping their lives! Through these lessons, those who have accepted God are growing stronger and stronger. It’s going to be a battle, but I know that God can help us win back our generation and the rest of the world!!!!

                How do you live a life that shows who God is? By sticking to the standards that are in his word no matter what happens to you. Everywhere I go: school, work, sports, boy scouts etc. I strain to praise him every way I can. Don’t be discouraged if you think that nothing is happening because you don’t know what goes on inside of a person. I am an Eagle Scout (top rank in Boy Scouts, only 4% of Boy Scouts reach it) but I’ve also been the Chaplain Aide of my troop. There certainly much more glamorous positions in our troop, but when I reached a high enough rank to have a leadership position God just said be the Chaplain Aide and I have been for just over three years now. To be honest, I don’t really do much in my position lol. I just glorify God and occasionally have conversations with other scouts in my troop. Over the last three years I’ve had 3 or 4 very serious conversations about Christianity with unbelievers and while they haven’t become come to him I know it has affected them. Another one is my soccer team. I had been playing with one guy for five years and I never knew he thought anything different of me until our last team party about a month ago. It was our last year of outdoor soccer so our coach had a paper with each player’s name on the top and each player wrote what they thought about that person. My teammate wrote “… I have also respected how you control yourself and never swear.” I honestly thought I had absolutely no effect on this guy until I read that 🙂 I had a few other guys say that they appreciated the way I acted. I really didn’t know until the end how many doors God had opened up for me to affect these player’s lives. I didn’t do anything, don’t think that haha. All I did was submit to God in obedience and he made everything happen 🙂 Just don’t be afraid to act different, always remember who you live for and that nothing matters besides him.

                To wrap this up, just don’t hold ANYTHING back. Just let God rush through your soul and don’t try to stop him. Imagine how refreshing it is to stand at the very bottom of a calm waterfall and just feel the water slowly rolling down your back. The sun is shining and you feel a little warm, but the water is making you feel at peace. That’s how God is, except that he is always there. He is a moving waterfall (I know this sounds funky but stick with me lol) that will follow you wherever you go if you let him. You may not always think he is there, but that’s because you refuse to let him be an active part of your life. Give him everything… your dreams, your life, your future, your sports, jobs, school etc. he can make everything in your life work together for the advancement of his kingdom. Never let go of his hand because he is the best Father you can ever imagine. He’ll lead you wherever you need to go as long as you glorify him with every single second of your life and give it all to him 🙂

P.S. I owe you one 🙂        

You have search…

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Psalm 130:1-6 Wonderful verses for those of us who feel insecurity. God will help you through whatever you have problems with and you need to just need to sink into his embrace