Committed to God

Alright, guys (and girls). I haven’t posted on here in a long time. I’ve been busy with graduation, and I feel like I have been neglecting this outlet to express my faith to others, and for that, I am sorry.
So, today, I want to talk about living “Committed to God.” In today’s world, Christianity is seen as a joke. We (Christians) are seen as nothing but hypocritical, hateful people who want to suck every bit of joy out of life. Now, this is an absolute tragedy. We are supposed to go into the world and represent God, but the words used to stereotypically describe Christians seem to be a direct contrast of Him.
I know what you may be thinking “that isn’t how all Christians are. Not all Christians fall into that stereotype.” On that point, I would have to agree with you. Not all Christians act the way the stereotypical Christian acts. Not all Christians are hateful. Not all Christians are spiteful. But why is it that we only hear of those who are? The reason is simple: Today’s culture is vehemently opposed to Christianity. The morals and values of today’s culture directly opposed what the Bible says to be right and true.
Now, I believe that the reason that we, today, hear so many cases of hateful, hypocritical Christians is that those who are trying to combat the evil in this world and spread the truth are doing so without love. Many of those who are actually stepping up against the tragedies that have occurred in America– from legalized same-sex marriage to abortion– are not doing so in love. They are acting in anger and hatefulness towards the people, rather than towards the sin. This is a big problem for the rest of us. Because if these people are the only ones who are going to act out against the sin that has permeated our culture, then they are going to be the ones who represent Christianity.
Therefore, the reason so many people view Christians as hateful and hypocritical is that the “Christians” who are speaking out are doing so in hateful, hypocritical ways. This means that there are not enough people proclaiming the truth in love. Many of us Christians, today, sit idle in our faith. We stand on the sidelines and watch as the world moves toward sin and embraces it wholeheartedly. The song “What if His People Prayed” by Casting Crowns captures what has happened to Christians, today. It has the image of dusty swords, showing that Christians have ceased fighting against the demons and the sin of this world. What has happened is that Christians all over the world have realized that their beliefs go against what society wants. This realization has led many Christians to live out their faith in a very subdued manner. They may speak against the tragedies that have befallen our country, but they will only do it when surrounded by others who believe the same as them. They refuse to go against what is normal. They want to fit in, and be liked by those of the world, but Romans 12:2 says “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Here we see that Romans 12:2 tells us to stand out and to be different. Too many Christians, today, have taken on a watered-down faith. They have moved away from the idea that the Bible is truly God’s Word. They have moved away from the idea that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. They have moved away from the idea that someone who is born a man is meant to be a man. They call many of the central ideas of Christianity “outdated” and “archaic.” This is a huge problem. Because, if Christians are not willing to stand up against the demons and sin of this world, then who will? If Christians aren’t loving, then how can the truth be effectively spread? If we, as Christians, have totally given up on standing up against the evil of this world, then what is the point of our faith? If we, as children of God, are just going to let the world walk all over us, then why should we even call ourselves Christians? What does it even mean?
I just want to give all of you a little reminder. I want all of you to think back on the moment you were saved. The moment God rescued you from yourself. What did you feel in that moment? I’ll tell you how I felt. I felt like I could move mountains! I was so overwhelmingly in love with the God who saved me that I couldn’t help but tell everyone I came in contact with! Today, I wonder what happened to that person. What happened to the one who was so in love with God that he would stand up for his Creator without any fear? The truth is, my faith got put on the back burner. I let life get in the way. I let other people’s opinions of me get in the way, so today, I want to give you, along with myself, a little reminder. God LOVES you. He CREATED you. He SAVED you. Think back on your salvation. Think back on the moment that you realized just how committed Jesus was to you. Jesus DIED for you. He was CRUCIFIED for you. He made the ultimate sacrifice and DEFEATED DEATH for you. Christ lived committed to His church. He loved us, His bride.
Now, I want to call you to look at your commitment to
Christ. Speaking for myself, I totally lack commitment in comparison to Christ. In fact, I totally lack commitment in comparison to myself three years ago, but this should not be a reason for me to abandon all hope. What if we all made a real effort to grow closer to Christ? What if we stood up for Christ whenever the world talked down on Him? What if we defended our faith when it was being attacked? Today, I want to encourage anyone who is reading this to stand up and dust off your swords. Let us be the generation who fights the evil in this world. Let us be the generation who rises from our complacency. Only you can make this change in your life, just like only I can make it in my own. So let’s choose today to live “committed to God.” Let’s choose to stand up for Him. Let’s choose to fight in His name. Let’s choose to love others in His name. Let’s choose to totally go against what this society believes in the name of Jesus! Let’s choose to live in the way described in 1 Thessalonians 4, which says “Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. Those Who Died in Christ But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this blog post! It really means a lot to me! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me in any way! I love to hear feedback so that I can better my writing and my speaking! I hope that you have an absolutely blessed day, and I hope that you choose to live committed!!

Philippians: Christ Is Preached

Ok, guys. This is my second post in the Philippians series. I want to start off by apologizing for the lack of posts recently. I allowed myself to get distracted by business, and for that, I apologize. My request from my last post still stands. Whatever way you have of contacting me, I would still love to hear any feedback you have. I am open to any suggestions that could help me to better my posts and more effectively spread Christ’s Word.
In this post, we’re going to be looking at Philippians 1:12-18a. In the last post, we looked at Paul’s greeting to the church in Philippi. We found out that Paul is writing this letter from jail, and he really loves the Philippians. Now, in verse twelve, Paul addresses his imprisonment. He says that his imprisonment has turned out for the better and that it has actually helped the spreading of the gospel, rather than hinder it. He says in verse thirteen that people know that he has not done anything wrong. These people include everyone from the common people to those who are guarding Paul day and night. They have realized that he was only imprisoned because he was preaching the word of Christ. In verse fourteen, he goes on to say that his strength throughout his imprisonment has shown people that God is faithful, even through tough times. This encourages others to share the good news without fear. In verse fifteen, Paul talks of some people who are preaching Christ because they are jealous of Paul and want to discredit him, but he says that there are also some people who are preaching Christ from goodwill. In verse sixteen, Paul talks about the ones who have preached from goodwill. He says they do it because they truly have affection towards Paul, and they are confident in his ability to preach the truth. He also talks about his appointment for the defense of the gospel. In this, he implies that he is in jail so as to have a strategic position from which to preach God’s Word. In verse seventeen, he continues talking about the people who are preaching Christ out of spite. He says they preached to advance themselves. These people used Paul’s imprisonment against him, saying that God must have seen Paul as so evil that he needed to be imprisoned immediately. In the first part of verse eighteen, Paul addresses the main point of this section of scripture. He says that, to him, it only matters that Christ is proclaimed. He doesn’t care if the intentions behind it are good or bad. The simple fact that the gospel is being preached and proclaimed gives him joy.
Alright. Again, that was a lot, and I totally understand if you’re a little lost right now. Throughout this whole passage of scripture, the main focus is Christ being preached. This is what we need to look at and learn from. Paul is in jail, and he is rejoicing! He is being persecuted, but he’s happy! The reason he is happy is that he knows that the situation he has found himself in has helped to increase the spread of the gospel. He is being punished for sharing what he believes to be true, and, rather than sulk about sitting in jail, Paul is able to continue to effect the spread of the gospel from inside a jail cell. Now, THAT is an example to look to. Maybe we, as Christians, need to take some notes from Paul on how we should act while we are being persecuted. For starters, Paul is able to look at the good in his seemingly terrible situation. Where most people would only see reason for sadness or anger, Paul finds reason to rejoice. This is note number one. As Christians, we should all strive to find God’s will in each situation. Often, we will just sulk in our situations. We will look so much at how bad our current situation is that we can’t even begin to see how God could ever use it in a good way. We wonder why God would put us through so much, but if you’ve ever been in that situation and come out of it, then you know that there is always a reason for our trials. God lets us go through trials to help us grow and/or put us in positions to better spread His Word. God doesn’t make you suffer just for the sake of making you suffer. He doesn’t cause you pain just to see you hurt. As a Christian, I, too, need to look past my circumstances to see how God’s will plays out through it. I need to look at how I can best use my current position to most effectively accomplish the things of God’s will, and I want to encourage you to do the same. Now, the thing that causes Paul joy in this dark situation is that Christ is being preached. Some of this preaching is being done against him, and some is being done in favor of him. The only thing that matters to him, though, is that the preaching is occurring. He realizes that some people are out to get him. He knows that he could be put to death at any time. The important thing to him, though, is that the message of Christ is reaching new ears. This should be our own goal in life. We need to try to spread the Word of God, regardless of our circumstances. We need to focus on the good in our dark situations. We need to rejoice in the pain. We need to truly come to terms with how bad things may seem so that we can reach the blessings that God has in store for us through those things. The focus of our lives should be that “Christ is proclaimed” and, in this we should rejoice.
If you aren’t a Christian, then I want to encourage you to talk to someone who you know is a Christian. Ask them to tell you about the God of the world. Ask them what it’s like to know Him and what He can do through you. The truth of the matter is that the only way for you to find joy in your current situation, no matter how dark it may seem, is to ask Christ to come into your heart. He is the light in the darkness. He is the hope on the horizon, and He is madly in love with you. He loves you so much that He came to earth and suffered and died for your sake. He has radically changed my life, and He wants to do the same for you.
Thanks once again for taking time out of your day to read another of my blog posts. I am looking forward to any feedback you might have, and I hope that you have an amazing remainder of your day! God bless!

“What’s in a Name?”

There are millions of adjectives to describe things today. Countless meanings given by certain words. Although we have such an enormity of descriptive words, we still do not have words that describe our lives effectively. We don’t have a single word to describe the very essence of who we are in its entirety. The closest we come to reaching a word that fits this description is our name. When those of you who know me think of “Dillon”, many different things may come into your mind, half of them I probably don’t even want to know, but the most effective way of describing me seems to quite simply be “Dillon”. Names are our best way of differentiating ourselves. That said, God seemed to have a way with names. You most likely know of the apostle Peter. Well, what if I told you he wasn’t always called Peter? In fact, up until Jesus came into his life, he was known as Simon, but Jesus just changes his name to Peter. Now, of course, there is meaning behind the name and the reasoning for Jesus changing it, but I just want to look at the fact that Jesus changed his name. Up until this point, Simon had been building a reputation on this name. He had been ‘making a name for himself’ as today’s society would put it. When people heard “Simon”, a few things probably went through their mind. They probably already had a description of Simon, if they knew him, but Jesus calls him Peter. When we come into contact with Christ, we are a new creation. Old things have passed away, and new things have come. Who we used to be doesn’t matter. It didn’t matter that Simon used to be the son of John. It didn’t matter that he used to be a fisherman. It didn’t matter that he had been a lowly sinner. Because Jesus had come into his life, he had become the “Rock” that Christ’s church would be built upon. Another situation where a name goes through a bit of a change is the apostle Paul. Many of you have probably heard of Him. Wrote a bunch of books in the Bible. Devoted His life to God. Major part in the development of the early church. This Paul guy seems pretty awesome, huh? Well, before he was Paul, he was Saul. Now, Saul went around, persecuting Christians and fighting the Christian faith. He was a liar. As far as sinners go, he was as bad as they come (considering that all sin is equal, even yours). One day, he came into contact with God. God revealed Himself to Saul. Once again, it didn’t matter who Saul used to be. Because, now, he was Paul. He was the man who would play a huge role in the development of the early church. He was the man who would write many books of the Bible. God came and radically changed Saul, making him a new creation. Hence, we have Paul. Now, as you hopefully know, I was not always the guy I am. I wasn’t always in the church. I didn’t always try my hardest to refrain from sin. 3 or 4 years ago, “Dillon” meant something a lot different than it does now. When people thought “Dillon”, there weren’t many good thing to think of. As much as I regret that time now, it doesn’t matter. That isn’t who I am anymore. I am a new creation in Jesus Christ. Old things have passed away. When you accept Jesus into your heart, you can’t help but change. You can’t help but speak differently, think differently, walk differently, or even stand differently. It’s as if a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. If you don’t know Jesus, feel free to ask me about Him. Regardless of what may be going on in your life now, He can make you an entirely new creation! You probably won’t get your name changed, but the concept will remain the same. Although your name stays the same, the way people think of it will change radically. In the two examples from Scripture, the changing of these men’s names are symbolic of the changing of their souls, in my opinion. Their roles have changed. They have become entirely new. This is what happens when you accept Christ. If you do know Jesus, maybe you’re reading this and thinking to yourself,” Man, I really like what he’s saying, but I’ve done some bad things.. I used to be a pretty bad person. I don’t know if I can really be forgiven.” If that’s you, let me just suggest that you look a little deeper into the Saul->Paul transformation. God takes the most broken people and does the most beautiful things with them. You don’t have to be held back by who you used to be! That isn’t who you are anymore! Regardless of what people say, God can and WILL use YOU! No matter what you’ve done and no matter where you’ve been! You just simply have to lay yourself down to Him! Just give your life over to Him and watch Him work around you! Whoever you are, I hope you have a blessed day and let God make you into the new creation that you are!

Philippians: Paul’s Greeting

Alright. I’m going to try to start doing these blog posts as series with a few interjections here and there. If it works, it works, and if it doesn’t it doesn’t. Whatever way you are able to contact me, I would love any feedback you have on my blog posts and what you think does or does not work. My goal is to use this blog to help fellow believers grow in their walk with Christ while also trying to help others become followers of Christ.

In this post, we are going to be looking at Philippians 1:1-11, but first, I want to start with an introduction to the book of Philippians. The name of this book comes from the name of the city that the church it was written to was located in. If that was confusing, it basically means that Paul was writing to a church in a city called Philippi. This is how the book got its name.The reason he is writing this letter to the church of Philippi is that this church is the first church he started in eastern Europe. In Philippi, there were many retired Roman soldiers, and there was a great dedication to the Roman Empire, including the king. This means that Paul definitely suffered some persecution in starting a church that was based on the idea that Jesus was the true king. When Paul continued on from Philippi, the members of the church faced the same persecution that Paul had faced when starting it. Regardless of this, though, the Philippians remained faithful to Jesus. Now, a very important thing to know going into Philippians is that Paul is writing this letter from a prison cell. The Philippians have sent someone to bring Paul a gift to support him while he is imprisoned. The book of Philippians is meant to be a thank-you note and a reminder to the Philippians to try to make their lives parallel to Jesus’ life on earth.

Verses one and two are Paul’s greeting to the Philippians. In his greeting, he introduces himself and Timothy as bond-servants or slaves of Christ Jesus. Here, Paul is using a word that means two things. Slave, in one sense means to belong to a master. In another sense, it means to be dependent upon God. Here, Paul is saying that he and Timothy belong to and depend on God. He then states who he is writing this letter to. He says that he is writing to all those who are saved, including those who are leading, in the church. He then begins thanking the Philippians and stating his prayers for them. He first states that he thanks God whenever he thinks of the Philippians. He goes on to say that he always asks God to give them joy because they have been faithful from the beginning of the church in Philippi until the time in which Paul is writing this letter. Paul then says, in verse six, that he is confident that God will perfect the salvation of the believers until the day they receive final glorification in Christ. In this verse, Paul assures the eternal security of the believer by saying that God will perfect their salvation. The salvation is where God “began the good work,” but He is going to complete it, helping those who are save to grow closer and closer to Him. Paul defends this statement by saying that he has the Philippians in his heart due to their partaking of grace both in Paul’s imprisonment and the defense of the gospel. Here, he is saying that the Philippians have shared in God’s blessings on his ministry, giving him confidence that their salvation and faith will one day be perfected. He goes even further to say that he loves the Philippians from the core of his being and that God is his witness to this. He then states another of his petitions to God on behalf of the Philippians. He says that he prays that their love will grow due to their increased knowledge of the Scripture and the application of this knowledge. He prays this so that the Philippians will be able to discern true priorities and live lives of integrity that do not cause others to fall into sin until the day of Christ. In verse eleven, Paul wraps up his prayer for the Philippians by saying that he hopes they are filled with the fruits of righteousness that begin at salvation. His ultimate hope is that the Philippians glorify God.

Now, if you’re like me, I know what you’re thinking. “He just wrote a lot… What does any of this have to do with me?” The truth of the matter is that this has everything to do with you! If you are a believer, then Paul’s prayers hold true for you! He is writing to all who are saved, including the leaders! If nothing else, we should use this passage of scripture as an example of how we should live and pray for others. I’ll start with Paul’s first prayer for the Philippians (which holds true for all of those who are believers in Christ Jesus). In his first prayer, Paul asks God to give joy to all believers. We should ask God for joy in our own lives and be loving enough to ask God to bestow joy upon others. Many people have probably heard verse six of this passage before, but I’m going to cover it just in case. In verse six, Paul says that he is confident that God will carry out the work of salvation to completion in the lives of believers. This should encourage us! This shows us that we are secure in salvation and God is working in our lives to help us grow in our relationship with Him! We don’t have to depend upon ourselves after we are saved because the One who started it WILL finish it! In verse eight, Paul talks about how much he loves his fellow believers. This should be an example to us about how we should love other believers. We are called to love others as Christ loved us, and Paul serves as an example of someone who loves others with an unselfish love. He ends this portion of his letter with another prayer on behalf of the Philippians (and any believers of Christ). He says that he hopes that love will abound in their lives due to them studying Scripture, gaining knowledge of it, and applying it to their lives. Here, we see what Paul’s hope was for the early church and for today’s church. He wants us to dive into God’s Word and learn from it. He wants us to apply God’s Word to our lives. He wants us to make God our priority and use our lives to glorify Him.

So, take a look at your own life. Are you getting into God’s Word every day? For the longest time, it was hard for me to set aside time each day to try to dig deep into God’s Word, but I want to encourage you that it is more than worth it. Scripture can give you strength to resist temptation, and it acts as nutrition to the soul. Just like you don’t go without eating for long periods of time, you shouldn’t go without reading God’s Word for too long. If  Jesus needed to get into Scripture, how much more do we need the same thing? Have you been trying to complete what God started when He saved you by yourself? It won’t work. If we need God to save us, then we need Him to sustain us. Turn to Him today and ask Him to help you to grow closer to Him. We can’t do it on our own. Do you spread joy? If not, I want to encourage you to ask God to give you joy. God gives in an abundance, so take the abundance of joy that God gives you and let it overflow and spread to others.

If none of this really applied to you because you’ve never accepted Christ into your heart, I want to encourage you to go to someone you know, whether it be me or someone else who you know is a Christian and ask them about Christianity. Ask them what you need to do to be saved. Salvation changed my life. Before I got saved, I was struggling to try to fill this void in my soul with things of this world. I want to encourage you to turn to Christ today. Nothing else will fill the empty hole inside. Nothing else will fulfill you. And nothing else will give you joy so abundantly that you can share it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Like I said, I am open to any feedback on what I should or should not do. If you have any suggestions or comments, I would be delighted to hear them. God bless and have an amazing remainder of your day!

New Life

Ok, guys. This is the first post on this blog that I have been feeling God lead me to start for a while. I’m gonna be totally honest with you. I’m kind of nervous to lay all of this before public view. I’m going to start with my testimony. I just want to tell anyone reading this where I came from and show them what God did in my life.

I was raised in a moral home. I knew about God, and I knew He was supposed to be in control of everything. I did not, on the other hand, know that He loved me and wanted what was best for me. If you’re in a place where you do not know how God feels about you right now, I just want you to know that He loves you. He sent His Son to die for you. (I’ll definitely post about the whole idea of the gospel and God’s sacrifice for us at some point, but, with this post, I just want to cover the basics of what went down in my life.) Not knowing that God loved me (or at least not quite knowing what that meant) was a big reason for my reaction to my parents getting divorced. When they got divorced, I was angry with God. I was outraged. I could not believe that this “God” who was in control would allow my parents to get divorced. This anger at God kept me away from Him. The problem with this is that, without God, there is a void in our souls. Whether you know it or not, if you do not have God, you are missing something inside of you. So, when I realized this void, I decided that I needed to try to fill it with friends. When I made this decision, I quickly realized that making friends is difficult. Being kind of stuck up and only wanting popular friends did not help. So, what would happen is I would start hanging around the popular people, and I would want to be popular just like them. I thought that, in order to be happy, I would need to be popular because the popular people seemed happy. This drive to be popular caused me to start cussing because that was what the “cool kids” did. I did not particularly enjoy cussing before this, but I figured I would have to make some sacrifices in order to be happy. Well, this sacrifice led to me being around people who cussed more often, but they still didn’t LIKE me. They just kind of tolerated me, so I figured that I would start hanging out with other kids who were popular. These people smoked, so I figured that I would smoke in order for them to like me. Smoking had once been something that I swore I would never do. These people still didn’t like me, but they laughed at my jokes, making me want to stick around. Eventually, these people pressured me into smoking marijuana. I say pressured, but they really did not have to put much pressure. I was willing to do anything to be “cool.” When I smoked marijuana, I would feel like the void inside me was filled for just a bit. The problem was that, when I came down off of my high, the void was bigger and more painful than ever. By February 23, 2014, I had been smoking (cigarettes and marijuana), cussing, stealing, disrespecting my parents, and bullying people all so I could be popular. February 23rd was a Sunday, and my aunt and cousin were getting baptized. My mom drug me, kicking and screaming (not literally), to go to the church to see it, and the only reason I went was because I thought I was just going to see people get dunked in some water (not have to listen to a message). So I watch the people get dunked in the water, and just when I thought I couldn’t stand sitting in that place any longer, the preacher walked onto the stage. Now, I’m not going to tell you that I remember what the message was on or what the preacher was wearing (to be honest, the only reason I know the date is because the baptism was recorded on my mom’s phone), but I do remember this voice of outrage in my mind. It was screaming about how I was in this place where people worshipped this God who obviously didn’t care about me. Behind this screaming voice, though, I heard a whisper in my mind. The whisper was calm, and it simply said,”listen.. just for a moment.. Listen.” So, I listened, and I heard this preacher talking about God’s love and how He cares about us no matter what we’ve done. After the sermon, I went and spoke to the youth pastor of the church, and he encouraged me to read 1 John. That night, I went home, dug around to find my Bible (I had not even wanted to look at it for years) and opened it to 1 John. That night was the turnaround point of my life. That is when I felt the void being filled for the first time without becoming larger afterwards.

Fast forward at least a couple months. I’ve been going to church whenever I can. God has filled my void and left me with an abundance of joy and peace that I had never felt before, and I needed a way to express it. I needed a way to let the joy and peace pour out of my soul. I watched a spoken word video by Clayton Jennings, and I figured I would write to express my passion. I wrote a lot of poems, but I would never share them with a group. I was not the type of person to get in front of groups. The summer of 2015, at a youth camp, I was talking to one of the leaders who was really encouraging, and I decided to show him one of my poems. He read it and started talking about me trying out for the talent show. I told him that it really wasn’t that good, and I could never get in front of a large group and speak, but he insisted. So, I ran up a mountain (literally) in order to try out for the talent show. I made it (pretty sure everyone who tried out made it.. It was a Christian camp.) and that night, I was literally crying out of terror before I went on stage. When I got onto the stage, I read my poem and the crowd went wild. Afterwards, people came and talked to me, telling me that my poem really encouraged them and asking if I had written anything else. It was absolutely amazing to know that I could write and speak words, and those words helped people. I knew from that point forward that God wanted me to speak. It was my passion. It was what I wanted more than anything in the world. I felt that God had called me into the ministry, and that is where my heart is today.

Each day, I try to grow closer to Him, and a lot of times, I fail. Failing is a funny thing, though, because true failure isn’t messing it up or totally fumbling. True failure is when you don’t get back up after you’ve fallen flat on your face. God loves you, and it does not matter how many times you have messed up.

To close up this enormously long first post, I just want to summarize and tell you why I  just poured out my heart on this computer screen. I want YOU to know that you do NOT have to be popular in order to be happy. The smiles you see from the people that seem to have tons of friends are simply masks that they wear over their own sorrows. Popularity does not equal joy. And you should never compromise your morals to make friends. If people don’t like who you are, then maybe they aren’t meant to be your friend. I want you to know that, no matter what you have done, God loves you, and He has always been there for you. He has never left you alone. You may not have acknowledged His presence, but He is there, and He cares. Lastly, I want you to know that God has a plan for you. He has a will for your life, and, sometimes, His plans do not line up with yours. For the longest time, I wanted to be an engineer because they made a lot of money, but God called me in a different direction. I want to encourage anyone who has their life planned out to make their plans adjustable. Plans are great and all, but, a lot of the time, we will totally miss out on the GREAT things God has planned for us because we are too focused on the good things we have planned for ourselves. God can use you. No matter where you came from or where you are, He can use you, and He WANTS to use you. Open yourself up to His will today.

A verse that has really encouraged me lately is Psalm 16:11. It says “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” God will make the path of your life known to you. If you’re the type of person who needs the next few years planned out, you might be disappointed. A lot of times, God reveals the path He has made for us step by step, and while it may be difficult to walk only knowing where your next step should land, God is in control. He has your life, and He will do great things with it. In His presence, you will experience true, full joy. I can be a testimony to this. Joy is an amazing thing, and I had never experienced a full, unwavering joy before I chose to let God have my life. Joy is this amazing thing that is always there, no matter what happens to you. It is the ability to look past your current circumstances and know that you will make it through the rough times. And, finally, in His right hand there are pleasures forever. When you begin to focus on what God is calling you to do and actually do it, the pleasure is inexplicable. It is truly amazing to know that you are headed in the right direction. It is unlike anything I have ever experienced. 

So start today, and look at your life and your soul. Do you know the joy of Christ? If not, I want to encourage you to find someone who you know is a Christian and ask them to help you to be saved. Are you resisting His will in your life right now? If so, I want you to know that there is more joy than you could possibly imagine in letting go of your life and letting God have control. Do you feel like you aren’t good enough for God to use you? If so, I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that, if He used me, then He can use anyone. My prayer for this life is to be able to help people grow closer to God (or be sanctified) little by little. I am praying for anyone who is reading this, and I pray that God tells you what you need to hear, whether it be from this blog or from someone else, I pray that you Give God control in your life. I hope that you have an amazing remainder of your day, and I hope that my words can reach the person who needed to hear them.