Time To Graduate

May and June are the months that bring about a lot of graduation ceremonies. Living in a larger college based city, I know of many graduation ceremonies happening. Although I know of many different ceremonies happening, most I do not get invited to go to. Over this last Friday and Saturday, two days only, I had been to three different high school graduation ceremonies. Over the last two weeks, I have been to multiple graduation parties, for students graduating eighth grade middle school, all the way through a doctor’s degree in college.

This is a busy season of honoring those who have endured a lot of hardship, long hours of study, and passing many tests in order to earn a degree or passing on to a higher level of schooling.

In each of these ceremonies, I had heard various speakers talking to the students about moving on in life. Gratefully, most of the ceremonies were Christian based groups and focused on God at the center of the student’s life. Several were not and did not bring up God in the picture at all.

With graduation, there is usually a feeling of some fear. Fear of what is next. Fear of how to move on with life. Many questions are being asked, and many not being answered.

If the student is in high school, some of the questions might be:

  • Do I go to college or not?
  • If I go to college, which one?
  • Which degree do I pursue?
  • How do I pay for college?
  • If I don’t go to college, what job should I get?
  • What career path should I pursue?

If the student is graduating college, some of the questions might be:

  • Do I continue on for a higher degree?
  • Where can I get a job?
  • How do I finish paying my loans?
  • Where do I move to now?

The one thing that is common for all graduates is that they are moving on in life. There is a change in life. Things are going to be different.

Some people do not really want to graduate. They are afraid of what lies ahead. I have seen some people be “professional” students. They attend college for eight years and never get a degree. They are constantly changing their majors, afraid of what is next, never really going anywhere.

Others do graduate, but do not move on. As they went through their schooling, it was just going through the motions. They never really learned anything. Some even cheated their way through the system. Rather than learning and growing, they stayed the same and fell behind. Many do not even graduate and drop out.

Although most people do finish out their high school degree and do move on, there are many that do not graduate in their walk with God. They hit a certain level and then stop.

The writer of Hebrews states: In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Hebrews 5:12

It is easy to just go to church and hear a sermon each week. There is no commitment or dedication involved. There is no work being done. Yes, a person may believe in Jesus and is saved, but there is no growth.

As a believer, you must grow and graduate on to bigger and better things. When you go through a situation in life with God, you must learn.

God may have you going through a tough situation. There may be some fear of uncertainty, since it is something new to you. You are to learn how God works and is in control in this life.

As God comes through for you in a situation, remember what He has done and will continue to do in your life. In your walk with Jesus, allow yourself to graduate on to the greater things God has for you.

Be willing to be used by God in new ways. As you step out in faith, graduating, it may be a little scary. It is usually stepping into an unknown territory in your life.

However, God is with you.

Remember:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

It is time to graduate in your walk with God.

What does God want you to start doing today?

How can you grow in the Lord Jesus today?

How can you be more like Jesus today?

Psalm 146:3 Who Not To Trust

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. Psalm 146:3

Trust in a person is something that most people say that they have a hard time doing, yet, do it all the time. People trust that the other person will stay on his side of the road while driving down the road. Trust that the cashier will ring up the products correctly. Trust that the electricity company will keep the power running correctly. Trust that the boss will provide the paycheck with the correct pay.

These things are normal day-to-day things that people trust in others.

There are higher levels of trust, that many people attempt to trust in other people. Those in government positions are trusted to make things better in a city, state, or nation. They are expected to get rid of all crime and bring joy and pleasure to life. They are expected to remove all fear of harm.

The psalmist states that you are not to put your trust in human beings. All trust is to be in God and Him alone.

At first this may sound like something crazy to even consider. Think about it, Jesus told Peter to step out of a boat and walk on water. Moses was to go up against Pharoah with no army. The three Hebrew men went into a hot furnace. These and many more instances were people being led by God to do something that did not make sense. Yet, in each case, God came through for them and provided the needed salvation for them.

God is there for you. The world may say that they have the solution to your problem, but it is only a temporary fix or a cover-up. Another human being cannot solve the problems in your life. No one can bring about the peace and life that you need. Do not place all your trust in the people of this world.

Trust in God. He is the only one who is fully in control of everything. He can meet every need you will ever have. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life of every person that will come to Him and put his trust in Him.

Who do you trust today?

Those in the world, who will fail you?

Or God?

I pray today that you will know the faithfulness of God; that you will trust in God alone; that you will listen to what God says; and that you will point others to God for trust in their situations in life.

Psalm 139:23-24 Ask God To Search Your Heart

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

Very few people really like their inner thoughts to be known by other people. Most, if they are honest, probably have thoughts in their hearts that would not look good to others if they saw them.

The inner thoughts of a person can be hidden from people because they cannot fully see into the heart and mind of another person. Thoughts of hatred, jealousy, anger, frustration, fear, and other thoughts often sit hidden inside the heart and mind of a person. Some very gentle appearing people have some deep-seated hatred for others hidden in their heart.

These types of hidden thoughts also sit inside the heart of believers in a church. A person wants to look good to others  in the church, so he keeps those thoughts buried. Most people agree that these thoughts are bad and sinful.

However, one type of thought that David wanted God to search for was his anxious thoughts. Being anxious about something is to be worried about something. When a person is worrying about something, he is not trusting God, which is an offensive way to Him. When he is not trusting God, he is saying that God is not good and perfect. He is not allowing God to be on the throne of his life or of this world.

Most believers know that when they sin, they are wrong. Many do not see worry as a sin, it is seen as just a natural part of a man’s life. God does not see it that way. Worry is to not trust in Him.

Think about your life and how many times you worry or fear something. If you are like most people, myself included, that is a lot. There may even be times where you are worrying and not even realize that you are doing so. There may be times when you are not trusting God and not fully realize it.

Ask God to search your heart and mind. He can spot where there is worry and fear in your heart. He can also give you the peace needed to overcome that worry.  Do not allow an offensive way to be found in your heart. Allow Jesus to remove it today.

I pray today that you will trust God with all of your heart; that you will not worry about anything; that you will allow God to search your heart for any sinful thoughts; and that you will allow Jesus to purify you from all sinful ways.

Psalm 139:17-18 God Is Thinking About You

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand–when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18

One concern that many people have is wondering what other people are thinking about them. Fear of what other people are thinking is one of the largest factors that keep a person from doing something.

The fear comes from the thought that the other person does not like or agree with what a person is doing or saying. This often paralyzes a person. While most people don’t have any real thoughts on what is happening, there are some that will be very negative about it. There are some that will openly condemn or cut down a person for what he is doing or saying.

Since people tend to be like that, many also feel God is the same way. There are people who will not turn to God out of fear of what He might say because of all the bad things that they had done.

David had caught the idea that God has a lot of thoughts about Him. He knew that God knew him very well, and in spite of knowing him that well, still loved him. God had so many thoughts about David that David felt they would outnumber the grains of sand. That is a lot of thoughts.

He is not alone in God’s thoughts. God is thinking about you. He has plans to help you become the best that you can be. He wants you to prosper and survive for all eternity.

Since God knows you perfectly well, inside and out, do you not think that if He was really against you that you would not be already destroyed?

God is not out to destroy you or condemn you because of your sins. He wants to forgive you and make you into the man or woman who is after His own heart. God’s goal is to get rid of all the sin in your life and make you like Jesus.

Do not fear His thoughts for you. Accept them and grow in Jesus. Realize how precious those thoughts are and how well they will help you, if you will let Him do His work in you.

I pray today that God will reveal His thoughts about you to you; that you will not fear what God thinks of you; that you will know God’s love for you; and that you will keep God in your thoughts all the time.

Psalm 129:4 Cut Free

But the LORD is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. Psalm 129:4

No one likes to be bound up in chains or handcuffs. They want to have their freedom to live life as they desire. Most people feel that they are free in this world to live their own lives. There are some countries where that freedom is not really felt as much, but most still feel that way.

The reality is that most people are bound up in the chains of this world. The world holds many people back from really living life to the fullest and best possible.

These chains are the chains of fear, ridicule, persecution, and shame. The world tries to tell a person that if he believes in God, he is ridiculous and crazy. Following God is being narrow-minded and often seen as bigoted and unloving.

When a person starts to believe these things, he begins to fear the world and chooses to stay far from God. In doing so, he has allowed the world to put chains on him. His hands, feet, and heart are bound up in chains that he, alone, cannot break.

Living like this keeps a person from living the life God has for him. He begins to live life as the world tells him to live, a life apart from God. This life is a life of death. It is on the path to destruction for all eternity.

Many believers fall into this trap. They are caught up in legalistic obedience to God. They do not have the loving relationship with God that God desires. They are bound up in chains that other “believers” have put on them.

God saw your inability to break those chains and did something about it. God had broken all these chains when Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.

Jesus chose to set you free so that you may live your life for Him. In living for God, you will be living a full and abundant life. There will be joy and satisfaction that cannot be found in the ways of this world.

Are you allowing Jesus to break those chains in your life?

Or are you allowing the world to keep you chained up?

I pray today that you will allow God to set you free; that you will live for Jesus; that you will not seek the ways of this world; that you will not be deceived by this world; and that you will live an abundant life for God.

Psalm 128:1 Blessed In Fear And Obedience

Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him. Psalm 128:1

Fear and obedience are two things that many people do not see associated with blessings. Yet the psalmist says that the one who fears and the one who is obedient is blessed.

Fear is often associated with being scared, not respect. There are many people in the world who fear God, because they fear that He will not accept them because of their past sins. Christians often fall into this same type of fear of God. They fear God no longer loves them because they fell back into some sin again. The weight of judgement against them weighs heavily on their minds.

This is not the fear the psalmist was talking about. Fear, here, is the respect and reverence for God. It is allowing God to be God and absolutely ruler over one’s life.

Obedience is seen as something that one must do, not a privilege to do. Throughout the world, many people obey the laws, only because they have to. The rules are obeyed only out of fear of getting caught. This also is often seen in the church. The heart is not in the obedience.

When a believer realizes what Jesus has done for him and how much God loves him, he will want to obey God. It will be a choice, not a requirement.

When you obey God out of fear, you are constantly on the outlook for when God is going to strike you. In that way, there is no real peace or loving relationship with God.

The blessings in fearing and obeying God is found in the relationship that is built up through the obedience. The level of trust in God is built up as you fear and obey Him. Knowing that there is peace between you and God rises when you know you are living for God with the right mindset.

Having that right relationship with God removes fear of judgement or reprimand. You will know the grace and mercy God has for you. In the midst of trouble in this life, you will still have God’s peace and love in your life. What better blessing can there be than that?

I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will know God’s mercy for you; that you will have the proper fear and respect for God; that God will strengthen you in your obedience to Him; and that you will know all the blessings God has for you.

Psalm 125:1 Unshakeable

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. Psalm 125:1

People go through life trusting in various things to help them along the way. They will trust that their paycheck will continue, that their retirement will be enough, that the economy will be good, and the list goes on.

That trust in those things often gets severely tested from time to time. As a person is trusting his job, suddenly there is a time where they are laying off people, making cuts. The person is often shaken to his core, wondering if he will have a job in a few weeks, or how he will provide for his family if he is laid off.

When things start to take a turn for the worse, people become scared and worried. They are shaken with the fear that is in them of the unknown future. All peace has left them.

Nations and economies have risen and fallen over and over throughout all of history. No nation has lasted forever.  Every thing in those nations have risen and fallen. Jobs that were in place one hundred years ago are now gone. Equipment that was used fifty years ago is now gone. The economy of thirty years ago is gone. Nothing on this earth last forever. With everything going away the fear can rise in a person.

Trusting in God removes that fear. God is a foundation that has been in place since the beginning of time. Throughout history, God has never changed. He remains the same since the time of Adam, and will remain the same for the rest of eternity.

God can be your unshakeable peace when all of your world seems to be falling apart. When things fail in this world, God is still right by your side holding you up.

As you trust in Jesus for everything, you will have His perfect peace in you. You will know that no matter how bad things get, He is still in control. You will not be shaken as many in this world are shaken with fear. You know your future will be an eternal life in heaven with God.

Where is your trust today?

Are you being shaken?

I pray today that you will trust in God with our life; that you will know His peace in your life; that you will not be shaken as the world is shaken; and that God’s love will remove all fear in your life.