Making choices…making changes….starting over is always easier said than done. Life is one big decision-making process, knowing your purpose and those who can help you fulfill it is important. Everyone has a void that must be filled. Some seek fulfillment through careers, education, relationships, gangs, sex, gambling, religion, church activities, music, substance abuse, and so forth. Some people even join up with great organizations, events, and people, however if that is not what God has for you, it will cause pain in the end.

In my own life, I see how I used education, Christian organizations, career goals, and a few select individuals to fulfill my life, but once school was over and colleagues went their separate ways, positions ended, and those few select individuals disappointed me, I was left empty once more.

Sure, I had a relationship with Jesus, I attended church every time the doors were open, I was faithful to prayer, and I paid my tithes and offerings. So what…why was I feeling empty? I put those things before my relationship with Christ.  My life seemed to be full of “God” things, so I was fine, right?

Another obstacle was my own carnal desires. My, “few select” were not all on the same Christian path. I fooled myself into thinking that I could help them, perhaps point them to Christ. In the end I was always sucked in…I was always compromising. The statement “love is blind” is true. We act out of love and ignore all the damaging warnings, and then when life and relationships start to crumble we ask “Why Lord?” Selfishly I continued to surround myself with these unhealthy relationships  knowing the damage it could cause to my testimony—sometimes we are the only Jesus a person sees. Therefore, our testimony is everything, but more importantly, I knew the damage it could cause me spiritually. We can always think of a reason to remain and I had plenty. But I was always miserable, yet I lacked the knowledge and understanding of how to end it.

During our praise and worship at my church youth convention, I heard this song called “Moving Forward”. That song spoke volumes to me. I remembered falling down and crying out for God to make me new, to help me move forward. That song is beautiful. It shows that God is faithful, that with Christ we can be new creatures, and move from our past. Too often, I tried to correct the past, start a new chapter with my past…but your past is your past. I wanted my past to be my future. Sometimes it still hurts, sometimes I still wonder, and all the time I pray for continued strength to keep moving forward.

We cannot correct the past; we cannot change the past, and no matter how great a person or thing was in your past, sometimes it meant to remain there.

The key2hope of moving forward is to believe that Christ will heal your heart to move forward. You and I may stumble backwards a few times, may be confused, and still have a little hurt left, but moving forward is a faith walk. It may not happen all at once, but God’s Word does not lie. He is the Healer that makes all things new…He is the Guider that will direct us to move forward.  He is the Good Shepherd.

You can check out the song, Moving Forward

May God bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

So, You Think You’re Different?

Everyone wants to be different…everyone wants to stand out in the crowd…everyone want to be an “individual”. People go the extra mile to dress different, to fix their hair in crazy, wild, and wacky styles.  It is okay for people to dress in all black, with tongue rings, eye rings, spiked hair, and skeleton shirts. It is okay for people to dress half-naked with 15 different colors in their hair. It is okay for guys to wear skinny jeans–something you would normally see females wearing. It is okay for Muslims to wear scarves around their faces and clothes to cover their body from head to toe. However, let people say they are Christians, then they become weird, strange, and judgmental. Far be it for them not to “dress” like everyone else.  No, they cannot be an “individual”…they are not allowed to have an identity—it is too offensive.

Why do people go the extra mile to be “different”? Why is it “cool” and acceptable for Lady Gaga to wear a dress made of meat? Why is it cool for guys to be in relationships with guys and girls to be in relationships with girls? This is all in the name of expressing their identity. But a Christian is strange if they pray in public, if they attend church three times a week, if they don’t listen to rap and hip hop, if they don’t curse, if they talk about Jesus…and far be it if they try to share Jesus with others, why that’s just plain ludicrous…but why…no one can tell me why being a Christian is strange. It is abnormal, but no one considers it creative or different.

It is not being different when people accept you…being different is being able to stand when everyone else is condemning you. Being different is what Jesus did. He challenged those in authority, He taught love, and compassion, when everyone else was teaching the law—giving an eye for an eye. Jesus said to forgive, to love, to show mercy and be kind to those who hurt you. Even today, people cannot embrace this teaching. Even today, Jesus would still be considered an outcast. How do I know, because His followers (Christians) are treated as outcast.

Nevertheless, it is a joy and a privilege to be an outcast for Jesus. If living a life of love, honesty, integrity, kindness, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and righteousness makes a person an outcast. I count myself privileged to live such a life. The Bible says no greater love than a friend laying  his life for a friend. Jesus left His heavenly home to come to an earthly pit hole, full of anger, jealousy, and lies, in order to give salvation to all people—now that is being different…that is being an individual…that is having an identity.

Keys2hope is accepting this unconditional love, following Christ, and being an example of His Saving Grace. You want to be radical, just become a Christian; you want to be different and make a difference, just accept Jesus into your heart and share His love with others.