Sorry, well... I kinda had to. I haven't written since March!
"Little" life update for those who don't keep tabs with me much: Well, I graduated! Yay? The whole graduation ceremony just seemed a little nostalgic. It really didn't feel like it was happening until we got out of the building where I thought I was going to roast alive. The moment after graduation I instantly started going to grad parties to what I would unknowingly would probably be seeing some of my classmates for the last time. That's so messed up right? There are some people that I spend 7+ years with that I will most likely never see again. However, that started a string of several days where I can count the days I have gone to bed BEFORE midnight on one hand. These nights were filled with friends and family who loved me. Laughs, tears, wisdom teeth pain, and memories that I want to hold on to for the rest of my life. Shortly after my wonderful wisdom teeth venture, it was our grad party time! For those who have never helped plan/set up for a grad party; y'all should give some serious creds to the people who do! I am very surprised that my mother didn't have a nervous breakdown doing some of that stuff. There was a lot that went into our party. Thank you to all who came and spent some time with me! I wouldn't be the same without you and I am oh so grateful. I was also surprised be some of the people who came to visit me: My old youth minister who I hadn’t seen in quite a while, some friends from camp that I haven’t seen in 3 YEARS, my favorite Cadiz crew, and a slew of people who I just love so much. Last event, but CERTAINLY not least; I had the amazing opportunity to go on a mission trip with my wonderful family away from home! I was so nervous to go on this trip because I’m a little shy around new people but I had some friends already going! I prayed for the trip work out how it would best benefit God’s kingdom; and the result was truly beautiful (besides that wonderful Tuesday night of sickness). I made new friends who feel like they have been in my life for years, we did an amount of work that no one saw coming from a group like us, and we had joy and humility the whole time. I couldn’t have asked for a better week with people I love. I broke through the barrier of comfortable that kept me from truly making a difference.
I burst my bubble.
For the biblical reference I would like to relate to my story I went to Daniel 6. For those that don’t recognize this passage. It is the story of Daniel and the Lions’ Den! This is personally one of my favorite passages because 1. I love lions almost as much as armadillos. And 2. This is truly a story of Daniel bursting society’s bubble and changing it monumentally. I’ll paste the passage real quick:
Daniel in the Lions’ Den
6 [a]Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. 2 The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. 3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.
4 Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. 5 So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”
6 So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! 7 We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. 8 And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” 9 So King Darius signed the law.
10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. 11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. 12 So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?”
“Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.”
13 Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.”
14 Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.
15 In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.”
16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night.
19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”
23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.
24 Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.
25 Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:
“Peace and prosperity to you!
26 “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.
For he is the living God,
and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his rule will never end.
He rescues and saves his people;
he performs miraculous signs and wonders
in the heavens and on earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.[b]
Just let that sink in a bit. If you were thrown into a lions’ den, what would you do? I know I would pee my pants and pass out. one before the other, you can pick which came first. Moreover, imagine the courage Daniel must’ve had to go against king Darius; Daniel was practically his right-hand man. However, Daniel served a God who had a greater gift. He served a God who was worth getting uncomfortable, or even life threatening! He served a God who bursts bubbles. Daniel was willing to sacrifice it all for the one who did (or would do in Daniels case) for him!
That is my hope for you guys. Get uncomfortable! Burst your own bubbles and break down walls. We live in an age where there are barriers after barriers to be broken! The things worth doing are never going to be easy. You never know the grace, gifts, and glory that God could place behind that challenge!
Weekly Devotion Pick for “15 Minutes Alone with God for Men” by Bob Barnes.
“The Guy Who Drew the Line” -Ephesians 1: 3-14 (Feel free to read the passage)
God’s promise was predestined in us before we were even a thought. The MOMENT we accepted, heard, and believed; we were sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was the down payment for our inheritance.
Jesus is the foundation, he is our example, he is our rock.
As humans, we are imperfect. We are constantly trying to become pure so we can be like Him! But it is a process. Our world and its issues are becoming more gray so that this process can be slowed. Let us live black and white in a gray world! Know when to draw the line.
First you have to develop a plan:
“1. Make a decision. (Daniel 1:8)
2. Choose to put first things first. (Mark 7:15, 20-23)
3. Determine where the line is and stay a safe distance behind it. (James 1:14-15)
4. Guard your heart. (Matthew 6:21)
5. Guard your mind. (Colossians 3:2)
6. Guard your eyes. (Job 31:1)
7. Guard the little things. (Luke 16:10)”
Father God, thank you for the ability to break down barriers. I pray that we can get uncomfortable to serve your purpose. I pray for peace. I pray for love. I pray for You.
Deuteronomy 31:8New International Version (NIV)
8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”