Monday, November 23, 2009


Deuteronomy 30:19

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!

It’s funny, one of the trademark reasons for not believing in God, or for believing in him, but following your own set of rules, is that, it’s my life, I will live it how I choose. Many people believe that our decisions, our actions, our words are all just that- ours. And while we are the human “host” of all of these things, none of it belongs to us- but instead, to a much higher power.

The really great thing about our God is that he lets us choose. We can choose between our life, and the life he wishes for us to live. He is a loving and forgiving God yes, but at the same time, his instructions are clear to us about how our lives should be lived.

I was watching the Senate debate on healthcare on Saturday (yes I am a nerd) and one of the speakers used this verse to illustrate why abortion is wrong. For anyone who knows me, you know where I stand on this issue, and this blog is not intended to be about that, but hearing the verse made me look deeper at the meaning of choosing life- for the life of an unborn Child, or for the life of an already born person.

God blessed each and everyone of us today with life. He gave of us a family, friends, and an abundance of his love. He also gave us choices to make- good and bad, right and wrong. Temptation awaits every Christian who allows themselves to look for it. I myself face temptation every day- many times giving in. But the older I get and the closer I try to walk with God, I realize this temptation will always exist, it just means finding ways to cut it out of our lives. Choosing to live instead for ourselves and for God, not for the temptations placed before us. God never gives us more than we can handle- more than we can LIVE with.

You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:20

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Whole World

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
- Mark 8:36

Those of you who know me well know that I am a HUGE Florida Gator fan. I live, sleep, eat, and breathe Florida Gator Football. Right now is an especially good time to be a Gator fan for a number of reasons. One, we're doing well. Two, we have a phenomenal quarterback. When I say that, I don't just mean in the athletic sense, but also in the sense of he as a person exemplifies what it means to be a Christian role model. A few weeks back, Mark 8:36 was placed under his eyes. My friend Julianne pointed it out, and it got me thinking, here this guys stands to make millions some day, but first and foremost recognizes all of that is worthless without God.

I am a solid year away from graduating, yet I'm still ever vigilant in the search for what is next- teaching, a career, grad school, law school, anything. All of these options have their positive points- time at home, great money, great connections, but in the midst of all of this, I rarely find myself asking the question, which way will allow me to serve God.

As I enter into what I hope will be my last year of school, I just ask for the wisdom to know what is right. If I am meant to teach, I ask that i will be placed in an area where I can minister to students. If I am in a job of financial wealth, I ask that I may be directed to give back in ways that will help others. If I am placed in a position of leadership, I ask that God's hand will guide all of my decisions.

The whole world is at our footsteps, but what have we gained if we have that, and nothing else.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What for but to shine.

We are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works.-Ephesians 2:10 (NRSV)

As a part of human nature, I am constantly questioning things. Why did this event happen? Why did i make that decision? Why, why, why. Why? Because God wanted it to.

I look around at people, in my life and beyond, and I wonder, why do they do the things they do. I see people commite horrible crimes, and wonder how a loving God could let that happen. But then I realize out of every actions, comes a reaction- allowing God's love to shine forth. Sometimes I look at my friends and wonder how they can make such stupid decisions. And then I remember they are but God's children, and will stray from time to time. And I look at my own life, and realize all of the mistakes I have made and all the ways I have sinned. I know it's wrong, yet I still do it.

God created each and every one of us. he created us not out of greed, not out of desperation, not out of entertainment, but out of love. We were each created in Christ to do his good works. So why aren't we doing them?

Last week I had the chance to attend the National FFA Convention. I always leave in awe and inspired by things high school students- high school students- are doing in their communities. Raising money, building houses, feeding people, the list goes on. They are using God's creation for good works.

Matthew 5:16 (New International Version)-
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Their actions speak louder than words. Their good deeds and light shone forth to glorify God. So why can't mine?

We were each created in God's image to do good works. Sometimes our sin takes us away from that- it diminishes our ability to praise God because of the distractions in our life. I pray today that God will remove those distractions, will give me strength to resist sin, and will let my light shine forth for him.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Jesus Nut

Make no friendship with a man given to anger,nor go with a wrathful man,or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself.
Proverbs 22:24-25

A few weeks ago I spent the weekend in Tallahassee with my Grandma. Saturday night we went to mass and I heard a message that in a lot of ways, was exactly what I needed to hear. I know, not surprising that God tells us exactly what we need to hear in his house, but nonetheless it really got me thinking about my relationship with Christ and with other people.

The homily that day was about a lady who had written a book called "The Nut that Saved our marriage". It told a story of a woman whose son had come home from the Marines and was telling them about a helicopter, and how the blade was held on top by one little nut, called the Jesus nut. Why? Because through all things, if we have Christ we can survive. Without him, we are nothing. The helicopter, without the Jesus nut, could not function.

The homily went on further to say that if Jesus isn't the center bolt of our lives- if everything does not revolve around him, we won't reach new heights, and we will fail in all that we do.

So I started thinking about relationships. How many relationships with people do we have that are lacking Christ completely? I got to thinking about my friendships with people- and sadly, a lot of them revolve around things other than Christ. My friendship with my workout partner is all about the gym, but I rarely talk of my faith in there. My friendship with my classmates is all about school, and God certainly isn't found there. Even some of my purely social friendships revolve around anything but God- Gator tailgating, going out at night, hitting the beach. And how good are these relationship? None are the type to last forever.

I've had one friendship in particular that I've really struggled with lately. As I strive to surround myself with people who build me up, I find myself at odds with one of my closest friends. Some of the things they are allowing to influence them I fear are eventually going to tear us apart. But the one area I know will endure is our mutual love for Jesus Christ. While many times I have wanted to end or alter the friendship, I know that they need me as much as I need them- and that cutting someone out of my life is not the Christian example. It is because our friendship is centered on Christ that it must last.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Prov 17:17

On the flip side, I have another friendship where God's love is shining brighter than I ever could have imagined.  We've been friends for years now, but at different times we would grow distant, many times over petty things, then come back together.  Here recently though we've begun doing a devotional together, discussing it every few weeks.  This does two things- it makes Christ the center of our friendship, and holds us accountable to each other and to him for our actions.  In this way we are brothers in Christ and have a solid relationship that shows God's love.

So I feel like I'm rambling a bit here, but I want to boil this down into two points- one, we must have all of our relationships centered on Christ.  Two, we can't allow a relationship to fail simply because we disagree with the actions of a friend.  We must love them as God's love us and pray that we may be there for them.

Look into your life.  Are some of your friendships based on the beer in front of you, instead of the Bible in your backpack?  Do you have a relationship built purely on lust, and not on the heart  and emotion found in God's love?  Are you allowing something other than Christ to dominate the person you are and the relationship you have?  

Moving forward, I pray that I will have the faith and the ability to make Christ then center of all I do- work and lay, friends and family, labor and leisure.  And I pray that I will have God's hand to hold me up in times of adversity, for me, and for my brothers.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
-1 Timothy 4:7-8 (NRSV)

One of my goals after national office was to grow.  To grow physically, to grow mentally, and to grow spiritually.

Physically was easy, sort of.  I hired a personal trainer and got some good workouts.  I loaded up on protein powder, chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta.  And I trained.  6 days a week.  Some weeks 7 days.  Sometimes twice a day.  I worked out, and I grew.  I started at 125 and ended the semester at 165.  I was pretty pleased.

Mentally, well, I changed majors.  I found that I had a calling to teach.  My classes in communications were not interesting to me.  How was I helping people in this arena?  When it came time to register for mass communications, I knew that my heart was not in communications, but in teaching.  So I met with my advisor and changed majors.  I messed up my schedule.  But I found a way to grow myself mentally.  I was pleased.

So I was hitting the gym, and I changed majors, but what about my spiritual life.  A few months back I had a chance to speak at my home church for the first time.  It's funny, I've spoken to a lot bigger, and a lot harsher crowds, but somehow speaking God's word is a bigger deal.  At the end, I felt fulfilled.  As time has progressed, my relationship with God has grown.  I've made mistakes, learned from them, and grown closer as a result.  And I continue to make mistakes, but I continue to grow in my walk with God.

In the first two areas I had advisors, trainers, people who directed me in my growth.  But in my lost area, I struggled.  I did not have a pastor I was close enough to.  I did not have just one friend that pushed me.  What I have discovered though is I have a network of advisors, trainers, mentors.  I call them friends.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another"

Proverbs 27:17

I now realize my friends are those who push me.  Those who grow me.  Those who make me realize how truly fortunate I am.  They are training me in the ways of godliness.  

Who surrounds you?  Who sharpens you?  Who is walking the path that brings you closer to God with you?  I am excited about the coming days because one of my best friends and I are doing a Bible study together.  Even though we are separated by a continent, I am excited to grow in Christ with someone else.  In many ways, we are each others trainers in Christ.

I encourage you to seek out a trainer.  Seek out someone who will push you to learn more, do more, serve more, love more.  Surround yourself with people who will push you towards God, not pull you away from him.  Happy training!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


So I am a bit behind on my blog....I could use the excuse that school started back and I got busy but it's just that, an excuse.  The reality of it is, I haven't made it as much of a priority this week as I should have.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:17

The nice thing is, today is a new day.  It's so easy to get caught up in what we haven't done in the past- or in some cases what we have done.  It's really easy to think, because I did this, I can never do this.  For me its easy to think, I haven't done my blog this week, maybe I will start back next week.

The nice thing is, God doesn't care so much about our past as he does our future.

Jesus said, "Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the ages"

Matthew 28:20

God is always with us, even when we aren't with him.  What is it though that is holding us back from serving and loving him?  Maybe its a life of sin of yesterday.  Maybe its an addiction we can't seem to kick.  Maybe its an inward struggle we can't share with anyone.  No matter what it is, God is with us.

Today is a new day.  It's not about what we have or haven't done, but instead about what we will do to show our love for God.  Tomorrow is a new day.  A day full of choices.  A day full of priorities.  A day full of actions.  Where will God be in your list of things to do tomorrow?

Friday, August 21, 2009

A New Year

It's the weekend before school starts and all of my friends who haven't graduated are coming back to town.  I've just returned from our College of Ag Ambassador Retreat and as I sit down to plan out my schedule and organize my life, I have a new outlook on what needs to be a higher priority.  I find it quite ironic, but also fitting that my daily Bible verse today dealt with temptation.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word panted in you, which can save you.  James 1:21

God places everything in our lives for a reason.  Before I left on our retreat I was having trouble being inspired by my daily verse.  As I checked my email, my horoscope randomly popped up (I NEVER read my horoscope), warning me to stay away from temptation.  I know this wasn't by accident, and neither was today's verse.  As the weekend before school starts, there is so much "trouble" to get in to.  It's nice to have a little reminder to keep me in check.

More important though is the reminder to make God a priority in my life, not instead an afterthought.  I pray that as I move through this semester, God's presence is known and felt in everything I do.  And I pray that I can have the strength to resist temptation and focus on serving God.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 4:29

Little in our lives is simply by chance.  Every step, every breath, every mistake is part of God's perfect creation.  How often though do we go out searching, longing to find God?

Yesterday while I was at home I got to do something I used to despise doing.  Patch fence.  On our farm it seems like fence patching is an almost daily chore.  Where I used to hate it though, now I actually enjoy it.  It gives me time to think, to clear my thoughts, and most importantly, to admire God's perfect world.  So while I was patching fence I had my ipod going, and eventually it came to the end of the playlist.  Having my hands full, I continued working wishing something would break the silence.  About that time a breeze began turning an old windmill, with the fan blades clanking to keep me company.  I didn't go out searching for him, but God had found me in the big field next to the hay lot, and sent a little breeze to tell me he was there.

I think too often in life we think are alone in things.  A few weeks back as I as going through some of my own personal struggles I took the time to check my blood pressure- 180 over 90.  Way too high for anyone, most especially a 22 year old who goes to the gym 6 days a week.  It wasn't my lifestyle that was unhealthy, it was my stress level.  I had been keeping it bottled inside, killing myself in the process.  I realized I had to step away from the situation, turn it over to God, and move forward with my life.  You see, we are not alone in anything.  God is always there.  He's there in our parents for support.  He's there in our friends for advice.  He's there in our foes to challenge us.  He's there in our teachers to grow us.  He's there in nature to remind us of the marvels of his strength.  God is always there.

As I move back to school, I am going to make a conscious effort to seek out God in every aspect.  I am going to seek him in my relationships, strengthening friendships and working to build others up.  I am going to seek him in my schoolwork, imploring his wisdom to help me grow.  I am going to seek him in my health, turning my problems over to him, knowing he has all the answers.  I am going to seek God in other people, continuously looking for ways he is helping others to achieve his will.

I got a bit long winded this time, and I apologize.  But if we seek God in everything we do, we will not fail.  But if we fail to seek God in anything we do, we are guaranteed dissatisfaction.  Seek him first, and you will never know defeat.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6 ESV)

Time and time again this summer, I found myself wondering, how would my parents feel about my actions. I remember thinking once after I had accidentally not paid on the metro by slipping through the doors without realizing my card had not scanned, how upset my Dad would be knowing that I had "stolen", regardless of the fact it was just a dollar. And then there was the time I didn't return a phone call from a friend for quite a few days. What would my mother say about not returning a bit of gratitude.

Proverbs 1:8-10

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

Now that I am back home, it's much easier to follow my parents "rules". No I am not under their roof, nor do they know my every action, but I feel closer to them, and as such, know that what happens they will eventually find out about.

One Sunday this summer the message at church was on freedom. Freedom from rules, freedom from regulation, freedom from all of the things that hold us back. This summer I had complete freedom. I could do anything I want, go anywhere I would like, and stay out as late as I desired. This was what some viewed as freedom. But I was also hours away from those I cared the most about. I was hours way from my hometown that I love. I was hours way from a lifestyle and an upbringing that means more to me now than ever before. My freedom from rules served as a jail- an ever constant reminder of how "freedom" was in some ways more oppresive than ever before.

I was "free" from those who would serve as my accountability partners. "Free" from the physical presence of people I loved. "Free" from the reminders and examples of how to live a Christ centered life. Yes, I had "freedom".

When my plane landed in Tampa I have never felt more free. Gone were the chains of daily reminders of a lifestyle I hope to never have again. Gone was the lack of Christian example. Gone was the longing for home.

This summer I had freedom, but I also had a family at home who I care for more than anything. I had a Christian example waiting for me, and a reminder of the freedom that Christ's love affords us. Yes, we can have an experience freedom in our lives, but it is the freedom that comes with eternal life that offers a truer reward. Although I was in DC, and miles from my parents, I had their examples and their life lessons which guided me through a summer of freedom.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

While I am not old yet, I know which the path I must go becomes ever clearer, and I am glad for the freedom to chose, the freedom to learn, and ultimately, the freedom for experience God's love.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The vine

Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing."
-John 15:5 (NRSV)

This last week has been quite a rush for me. Finishing up at work, tying up loose ends, getting ready for fall classes, and generally just living life has seemed to fill up my day beyond the 24 hours I have. And as the week has worn on, I have made less and less time for God. It’s funny though, I seem to not find time to blog, or read my Bible, or even pray, but I still manage to find time to do other things.

This week I have not allowed Jesus to bear fruit through me. I’ve allowed lapses of judgment in my relationships, losing the confidence of others. I’ve allowed lapses of judgment in my personal time, not focusing on important factors in life but instead wasting time on triviality. As I give in to temptation and allow myself to stray from Christ, I find myself more unhappy than ever.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
-John 15:1-11 (NRSV)

As I look back over my past week I see things in my life that have caused hurt to myself and others. Christ is the vine, and God is the vine grower. I just ask that he removes the branches of sin that allow me to be lacking in faith and in productivity for him. I ask that he repair those branches which I have caused harm to. And I seek to renew myself in a sense that I can multiply his love through my actions.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


2 Timothy 4

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

As I seek to understand the Bible more, I continuously struggle with the meaning behind the words. Because it was written thousands of years ago, society as a whole is different, and as a result some passages can be taken out of context.

I think we as people do this more than we realize. Or maybe I’m just worse than most people, but I constantly look for- and often find- loopholes if you will that justify my actions. In fact, I’m know as one to push the envelope. If I have clear expectations and guidelines, I will follow them….most of the time. But if I think I can get away with something, yeah, I’ll do it.

What are the loopholes in our life we are seeking to find? Does going to church on Sunday make it ok to do whatever we want the rest of the week? Does tithing ten percent mean that we don’t have to spend as much time worshipping God?

The truth of the matter is, not matter what we do, God still loves us. At the end of the day, we are his children. Is he disappointed at times in our decisions? Oh yes. Does he wish for us to follow his word to the letter? You bet. But at the end of the day, we are his children and we have his love.

This week, let’s try to not find the loophole. Instead, seek to follow God’s word without exception. Am I going to mess up? Heck yes. But I know that his word sets forth the path which I am supposed to follow, and as long as it is in sight, I know that I am forever in God’s eyes.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
- Psalms 119:105

Monday, August 10, 2009

God's Grace

The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

1 Peter 5:10

It's ironic that this is today's Bible verse. Or maybe not so ironic as much as it is planned. You see, I am in the midst of reading the Story of Job and still find it amazing what Job went through and yet never renounced his love for God. How many of us are willing to do that? I would hope I would have the patience of Job, but do I want to be tested, heck no.

You see, we are never without God, although sometimes God is without us. While we may at times turn our backs on him in times of pain and sorrow, he never stops loving us, and in time, will restore us.

One of the best examples of this I saw over the beginning of the summer in Egypt. One of the largest, most wealthy companies in Egypt is owned by a devoutly Christian family. Time and time again the government places restrictions upon them, trying to limit their success. But time and time again, the family prospers, also bringing prosperity to other Christian families as their share their success.

It is through their faith in God and their steadfast resolve they are successful and rewarded. It would be easy to give in, convert, or just give up, but instead they stick to their Christian principles and as a result are rewarded in this life and no doubt in the next. It is by God's grace and his loving arms we are rescued from suffering and returned to a place of steadfastness and strength.

Ephesians 6:10

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.

I pray that even through suffering, we will stand steadfast in our faith, knowing that we have an all knowing and all loving God who is stronger than we can imagine and will never give us more than we can handle. I pray that in all things, we turn them over to him, so that his will can be done.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Without Walls

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
Proverbs 25:28

God certainly has a plan for everything.  Every step we take, every breath we breathe, every decision we make, he has known before us.  He gives us the freedom and the free will to run our own lives.  He simply set forth some parameters for us in the beginning.

In this text the Bible refers to a city whose walls have been broken down, and is left vulnerable to invaders.  Our lives are the same way.  When we lack the self control, when we allow the walls made of our values to fall, we allow the devil into our lives.  At first it may be only one or two mistakes, but eventually our life is overrun and taken over by Satan, and only through God's grace are we rescued.

I pray today that God will strengthen my walls of self control and keep his hand upon me, guiding me through life with gentle reminders of the rules he set forth.  And I pray that he will give me the strength to stare down temptation and live to glorify him in every way.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Ecclesiastes 9:10

"Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom."

I don't really have any thoughts right now. I just liked the verse. And at 5 o clock on Friday evening, I felt it very fitting. Work hard. Play hard. But in all things, I will strive to allow my faith to shine through.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Continuous Improvement

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 

Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

I find myself in a continuous struggle with Satan.  Every step I take I find him tempting me to veer down a different path.  Every spare moment I have, I find him creeping into my life.  Many times it is overwhelming.  More times than I dare to think about, I have given in.  I've allowed his influence to overpower my love for God, and in return, has lessened my resolve to live a life centered on my faith.

I have discovered that in order to stay deeply rooted in my faith, I need constant reminders and constant encouragement.  That is one of the primary reasons for this blog.  By expressing my faith in a public forum, I have people looking to me to carry out my faith in my daily life.  Anything less is just words on a page.

Much like a strong house has to be built on a strong foundation, I realize now more than ever that Jesus is my solid rock I stand on.  I am forever thankful for our father's love and live knowing my actions are an expression of my love for him.  I just continue to pray that he will guide and direct me to do his will in every walk of life.

I pray tonight that he will continue to strengthen my faith and allow me to work towards his will.  I know that the devil does his best to work in all of us, but it is ultimately through God's saving grace that we achieve salvation.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Giving- Good and Honestly

Ephesians 4:29
"Don't use bad language. Say only what is good and helpful to those you are talking to, and what will give them a blessing."

As a part of human nature, we gossip. We talk about our friends, talk about our family, talk about anything generally to avoid being the topic of conversation. But really, what in the world are we accomplishing? Are we building other people up? Sometimes. Are we spreading useless nonsense. Almost always.

I'm no theologian, but in this mind frame, I take Ephesians 4:29 to mean that bad language is not simply cursing, but any language that can be harmful and demeaning to others. Last Sunday in church the sermon was on honesty, and how being honest is one of the highest forms of love. Lying to someone to save their feelings, or worse yet, failing to help them acknowledge the truth shows of your failure to love them. So if honesty is love, and love is good, then what does that make of dishonesty?

We use bad language all of the time. Whether we are gossiping about people, stringing together curse words, or failing to be honest with those we love, we are failing them as Christians and as people by not saying what is good and helpful, by not blessing them with the gift of good language.

2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

Starting today, give of your heart. Instead of taking part in idol gossip, let's take part in sharing of our faith. I know I will and continue to struggle with being honest about my feelings, but I hope you will join me in working to be honest about how you feel, caring more for the person's eternal soul than their earthly friendship. And I hope, that you will give with a decided heart, pleasing God by being a cheerful giver and blessing those around you with words that are good and helpful.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I sit here dreaming of the days of going back to school. Football games, friends, tailgates, a great job, everything I love about the University of Florida wrapped in an orange and blue package. But then there’s the baggage- classes, exams, money, time. The great of them all though- what am I going to do after I graduate.

I spend countless hours worrying about the future. Grad school, law school, teaching, working, the possibilities are endless. But the nice thing is, I don’t have to worry about that. While I greatly want to know what the future holds, I have to trust in the Lord to provide. This doesn’t mean sitting back on your laurels, but instead preparing yourself for a life of service to him.
I don’t know what the future holds. Nor do I want to know. But I know I want to live a life that reflects God’s love. I hope that my life is one of service.

As I wrap up my thoughts, I think back to my favorite verse in the Bible. As I go back to school, I can want lots of things. The temptation to go out more than I study. The temptation to spend money on material things versus something that matters. The temptation to serve my own personal wants more than the Lord.

Joshua 24:15 tells us “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.”

We have to choose who we will serve. Will we want for material possessions, or will we allow the Lord to shepherd us so his will is done. Today is a new day. Today is a day for choosing.

“But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” - Joshua 24:15

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"Happy are people of integrity, who follow the law of the Lord"  Psalm 119:1

As I look back on my summer in DC, this scripture really speaks to me.  As I come nearer and nearer to the end of the summer, I have a heart full of happiness.  Part of it is because I am leaving DC and returning home to my family and friends.  Part of it is because I have had  a great summer and had a chance to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones.  But a greater part of it is because I leave here with a greater sense of who I am as a person, or more importantly, who I want to be.

I realize that in the first few weeks of summer, I was not a happy person.  Sure I had a full social calendar.  Every weekend was planned and most week nights included some form of event.  Sadly though, almost every weekend lacked time for worship.  And basically every night passed by without me reading scripture.  While I won't go into the sordid details, I realized at one point this summer that what I was doing with my life was completely against God's will, and a total violation of God's law.  I was focusing too much time on my happiness here on earth, very little time on my eternal happiness, and as a result, was living a miserable existence.  So how then did I make this change, and how do we change ourselves from spiritually lacking to fulfilled people?  By remaining pure to God's word and following his law.

"How can a young person stay pure?  By obeying your word and following its rule."
-Psalm 119:9

I realize now I was not following God's law.  And as a result of lacking God in part of my life, Iw as lacking God in all of my life.  You may be a better person at this than me, but for me, it's all or nothing.  I either have to live a life that exemplifies my faith all of the time, or none of the time.  Anything less just drives me crazy!  Now I will admit, I sin, quite a bit in fact.  But the great thing is God offers us forgiveness.  I know that I am not full of only pure thoughts and actions, but by making a conscious effort to be a person of purity, we come closer to mirroring God's love and hope for the world.

This summer I have had my own personal problems.  Missing home, having a rocky relationship with a friend, learning my way around a big city, looking temptation in the eye and saying no.  But I've also had some of my greatest triumphs.  And more than anything, I am truly blessed to have been able to grow as a person and as a Christian.  I leave DC in two weeks.  I leave with a greater understanding of myself.  I leave with a greater understanding of how our country works.  I leave with a greater understanding of God's will.  And I leave reborn in a sense in terms of my faith in God and in people, my hope that all will know and follow God's plans he has made for us, and my love for my family, my friends, and my all powerful God who is always there.

Friday, July 31, 2009

A mentor of mine shared with me a sign she saw at a church the other day-

God does not call us to be judges or lawyers, but witnesses

How true it is. Sometimes as Christians it’s easy to get caught up in how others actions don’t reflect God’s commandments for us. We say “Hate the sin, not the sinner” or “Love the sinner, but not the sin” but honestly, do we mean that? No, we pass our judgement just the same. We judge people based on their actions, period. That’s right, we judge them and their actions. Yet we are not called to be judges, just witnesses.

At the same time, we all find ourselves taking part in things we shouldn’t. It’s easy to do. Too easy. I know this summer I found myself slipping from my faith. I would go out with friends on Saturday night, sleep in on Sunday, and before I realized it, another Sunday had gone without going to church. That’s ok I would tell myself, I’ll read a few more verses in the Bible. I was defending my actions. God doesn’t call us to be a lawyer either- he calls us to be a witness.

If we are not called to judge and condemn, or to defend and justify- what is it then we called to do? We are called to witness. Witnessing can look different to many different people. To one of the ladies I work with this summer, it is taking time before every meal to say a short silent prayer. Without uttering a word, she is witnessing, showing her love and reverence for God through a small action. To a good friend of mine, its through simple acts of kindness, like giving her leftover food to someone with none. To one of my professors, its signing up to be a bone marrow donor- and then praying to be called upon. Whatever way you choose, we are all called to witness, the question is, how will you answer that call.

1 John 3:18
"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

Let us show our love for God and others, not through meaningless words, but through our actions. This summer a number of my friends facilitates a service based conference here in Washington, DC. One of the trademark lines of the conference is, “We must, because we can”. Think of showing God’s love in that context. We must show it, because we can. If you really think about it we are truly blessed, and it is our duty to witness to people through our actions. We must, because we can.

As I sum up, I think back over the last few weeks since my last posting. In the beginning of the summer, I was struggling with some of my relationships, both with people and with God. But as I find myself being called more and more to witness to others, I find myself growing stronger in my faith, and stronger in my relationships with other people. Recently I have struggled with the decisions of a very close friend. But as I think back over the saying “God does not call us to be judges or lawyers, but witnesses” I realize the best thing I can do my friend is simply to love them for who they are. I must witness to them not through my words, but through actions that show understanding and compassion. I must be a witness to them, because I can.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."Proverbs 3:5-6

I must trust in the Lord, and know that his will, will be done. And I must answer the call to be a witness, not through words, but with actions, and in truth.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance ... for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
-1 Samuel 16:7 (NRSV)

Vanity. We all experience it. We all hate it. We all have it. From the time we were young, most of us have been told not to judge a book by its cover. Yet, around every corner is a reminder that to most of us, beauty is skin deep. It’s on billboards with scantily clad models. It’s on the front of magazines. I even had a friend who refuses to go to the gym without having either his hair fixed or a hat on- he’s afraid of what people would think to see him as he is.

I am as guilty as anyone. When I first meet someone, most of the times I judge them based on their appearance. Eventually, I look into their heart, but unmistakably, my impression is formed based on their appearances. I find many people to be beautiful outwardly, with enormous pain on the inside. Others who may be no beauty to look at, have hearts yearning to care.

I’ll admit, I don’t go to the gym 4 or 5 days a week because I like to work out. I don’t run because I find it relaxing. No, I hate it. I don’t eat healthy because I like salad and grilled foods. Give me bacon and butter any day of the week. I do all of these things to be healthy yes, but primarily, to look good in a t-shirt. Yes, I let vanity consume a few hours of every day.

But what if, we focused just a fraction of our time being vain on getting to know someone’s heart? I can recall meeting a good friend of mine a while back, and my first impression was that he was a fratty jock who cared about nothing more than partying and meeting women. But as I got to know him, I realize he cares more about helping people achieve their goals, and ultimately wants to teach, so that he can better influence future generations. Had I allowed my first impression to shape how I saw him, I would have missed out on a great friendship.

Starting today, ignore outwards appearances. Seek to understand others for who they are, not what they look like. Seek to know their hearts, and you will know true beauty.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”- Romans 12:3

Growing up in the south, I knew my fair share of holier than thou Christians.  I can actually remember a time when a youth pastor from another church questioned my own sincerity in terms of salvation.  Talk about a turn off.

It can be easy to get arrogant in our faith.  Some feel because they can quote scripture at will that makes them a better Christian.  And at times, I'll admit that because I don't read the Bible as often as I should, I wonder about my own standing with God.

The truth is though, we are lucky, very lucky.  Because we have an all loving God who loves us, even when at times we don't love him.  It is my hope that a strengthened relationship with Christ will not bring arrogance, but instead understanding.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
1 John 3:11

As most of my friends know, I love politics. I love everything about it. And I certainly love good conservative politics. That's why living in DC should be a dream come true. But the closer I get to the "action" the more I see that politics isn't really about changing anything for the betterment of all- its about winning elections. It's about tearing people apart only so you can get your views out there. It's both parties. As I enter the second half of my summer, I'm going to make a better effort to look for the good in everyone. For those whom I agree with politically, I will pray, and those I disagree with, I will pray harder. But in the end, it's showing love and understanding that will make a change in this world- not winning elections.

Monday, June 29, 2009

First Blog

I've decided to get into the whole blogging thing. It is highly likely I will be inconsistent in my posts, but then again, I'm kind of a random person to start with. My rationale behind starting this is I feel I need to have a more positive attitude towards things. If I verbalize it, it simply reminds me of the change I need to make in myself. Which brings me to my post today.

A great friend shared this quote with me today-

“Adopting a good, healthy attitude toward life does not affect society nearly so much as us. The change cannot come from others. It must come from us.” John C Maxwell.

Odd that I use this quote for inspiration today for numerous reasons. One, I am not the biggest Maxwell fan. And two, my good friend Whitney told me once to not use quotes in my writing, it just shows you lack the originality of thought. Very true Whitney, but I'm going to make an exception this time.

This last weekend was not one which I ever hope to relive. No I didn't do anything illegal, and really didn't do anything which I should have major regrets about. Instead I learned something. I learned that ultimately we are responsible for our own actions. People will let you down. Life sucks at times. But ultimately, it is our own life to live, and our actions MUST reflect our values. Part of the reflection has to come from the world around us. Our friends, our time, our money, even our job must be a reflection of the things we value. Can you hang out with people you would never want to be like? Sure. But should they be those we count on. Never. I realize this varies from the quote, but it relates in a sense that our positive attitude changes us. And we have to expect that change from ourselves and noone else.

I'm known to speak my mind, many times too often. But I am going to make a conserted effort to look for the positive in everyone- even those I dislike. And I am going to make a concerted effort to surround myself with those whose values more closely mirror my own, instead of being around people I simply deem as fun.

A few months back I was able to share a message of not caring what the world around us thinks. This weekend was a solid reminder that what matters to me in life is having a solid relationship with Christ, friends and family who are supportive to a fault, and simply being happy.