Day of Prayer, brings hope!

National Day of Prayer is one of the most important days for Christians.

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Personally, I think it’s pretty awesome to have a special day to celebrate and recognize prayer. At our Young Life Campaigner meeting we each made a list of  5 things we wanted to pray for. There were 3 specific groups:

1) Family
2) Personal
3) World

I went to the meeting feeling a little down. If we allow it, life can take us so low, which is why it’s important to have  good, Christian fellowship. Each person prayed for finances and employment. Our group consist of people from 15-30 years of age and each person had the same two prayer needs. We could feel each others pain and needs. We each knew, or at least had an idea of how it felt to be uncertain about our well-being. But as we prayed for one another we gained strength and hope to continue on. I’m a fervent believer in prayer…in the good times and in the bad–it brings joy and hope.

National Day of Pray is important but I want to encourage each of you to pray daily. Really get in tune with God and devote time to your prayer life. I promise that you’re life will be different. Your problems may still exist, but you have an uncanny belief that God will bring you out. While you’re praying make sure you find someone else to pray for. Often times, we feel like our situation is the worse and that no one else understands. That’s such a lie. That’s why communication and fellowship is key.

Keys2Hope: 1) Get a prayer life
                       2) Maintain your prayer life
                       3) Communicate with someone to find out their needs & pray for them
                       4) Get a strong and dedicated prayer partner or group

“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8)

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Ignoring the Knock 4 Everlasting Peace

If you knew what age you were going to die how would you spend your life? If you could pick what age to draw your last breath, what age would it be? Taylor Anderson would probably have picked an older age than 24. According to the news her life was full of meaning and hope, yet a devastating Tsunami that hit Japan took her life away and many more.

We cannot predict catastrophic events, we cannot predict crimes and accidents, and we cannot predict when and how we will die.

One thing we know for sure, is that we have a God who loved this world so much, even after we choose to rebel and walk the way of sin, He still loved us enough to send His only son as a redeemer. By this, we can know the future of our livesif we choose Christ and not the world we can have an everlasting life of hope, peace, and happiness with our Savior in Heaven. The events of this world constantly point towards the soon coming of our Savior, and yet, we continue to gamble with life. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I’m reminded of the popular song by The Winans, Tomorrow

Jesus said
“Here I stand, won’t you please let me in?”
And you said “I will tomorrow”
Jesus said “I am he who supplies all your needs”
And you said “I know, but tomorrow, ooh, tomorrow, ill give my life tomorrow, I thought about today, but it’s so much easier to say” Tomorrow,
who promised you tomorrow, better choose the lord today, for tomorrow very well might be too late.

Oh how we take today for granted. We plan trips, save up for college, schedule parties, save for a new car…but we never take action for our eternal gain. Jesus said: “Behold, I stand at the door and Knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup (eat) with him, and he with me.” Revelations 3:20 (KJV)

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Jesus knocks on the door of every persons heart, no matter who you are or what you have done, from the biggest drug dealer, murderer, disrespectful, confused, alcoholic, etc, to the hypocritical choir member, every Sunday attendee-acting-like-you-going on, self-righteous-wish-you-could-be-out-in-the world person. All we have to do is open that door and say yes Lord.

Keys2Hope: it’s easy as ABC’s…seriously it is:

A-Admitthat you are a sinner: ALL have sinned, and come short of His glory (Romans 3:23)
B-Believein your heart that Christ died for you: (Romans 5:8)
C-Confess-with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved (Romans 10:9)

Secure your eternal place of rest today by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. What is keeping you from doing so??

Blessings & Hope!

Blessed Life Equals No Money, Part-time Job, and a Master’s Degree

Some may wonder how no money, two part-time jobs (averaging $800 per month-yikes), and a master’s degree can equal a blessed life. A few days ago I wrote a post that mentioned a quote, “you can’t have a testimony without a test.” My current situation is a test and ultimately God is going to transform it into a testimony.
 

Last week during campaigners (Young Life Bible study) I asked my students about success and if they were taking proper steps to achieve their success in life. They answered yes…but the fact is, nothing in life is guaranteed. I went through the proper steps to be what I thought was successful: hardworking, dedicated, experienced in my field, educated, and so forth. I’m not exactly where I would like to be career wise. But God has a plan for each of our lives. Each trial and tribulation is part of the puzzle. It’s that piece that makes us unique in the situation.

I seriously went through each of these stages…LOL…in that order!

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 I may not have the finances I want and sometimes need nor a full-time job in my career,  nevertheless, I am blessed. The level of word that I receive from my church, the hope that I receive from the Word of God, the awesome prayer experiences I have with Jesus, and my total dependency upon my Savior—lacking nothing in faith, means I am blessed.
It all depends on how you look at your situation. You can either look at all the tangible things you lack and forget about your relationship with Jesus and throw tantrums, or you can say Lord, thank you…thank you for allowing me to go through this. Through my trials I have learned to depend on you, I learned that you will make away when all else fails. Oh it’s hard, especially when you have bill collectors calling and you want to, but you just don’t have the money to pay up. It’s hard when all your money goes to pay rent and gas. It’s hard when you lack so much, but God knows… He knows what He’s doing even if we don’t.

I shared this with my students because they mentioned the struggles that cause them not to be successful Christians.  Ecclesiastes says,

“Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shall say I have no pleasure in them.”

This scripture is confirming that issues and trials don’t cease as you get older. The older you become the more problems and issues you have to deal with. The scripture says “while the evil days come not”—as a youth the evil days are not present—no responsibilities, little to no bills, and strength in your body—that is the time to remember your Creator, because when those trials come, the burden will be heavy, and remembering Jesus will be harder.

 My relationship with Jesus has given me so much strength and hope to continue on. Of course, I’m human, I’ve cried, I felt like given up, I’ve experienced stressed, yet Jesus always reminded me of things He’s redeemed me from in my past. He reminded me that He loves me and ultimately things will work out for my good.

Keys2hope: my dear youth, it’s imperative to know Jesus now, let him strengthen your confidence in Him while you are young, let him direct your path, let Him use you to glorify His name while you are full of vigor and life. And when the time comes, and it will, you will know that you have a blessed life, because you have Jesus. Those who have accepted Him are just passing by in this life. Our reward is in heaven. A blessed life is living for Christ, not measured by worldly success or tangible things.

As always, be encouraged!

Choices

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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.

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. 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.

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?

Image result for stand outEveryone 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 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.

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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? 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 and drink, if they only wear skirts,  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.

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.

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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. This doesn’t by any means, indicate that I nor Christians are perfect–we certainly make mistakes because we are human. 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.