Tag Archives: Jesus

How I Almost Lost My Sanity And How I Got It Back

The last couple months have been terrible.

I don’t want to get into any specifics, but I will say this.

I didn’t want to do anything and I was missing out on life.

I wanted to wake up and hit snooze every chance I had. Even though I would tell myself I wanted to be more productive.

My uncle passed away a few weeks ago. I drove out to PA to go see him (with my brother of course). I had to call off of work, which I hated doing.

I was depressed and I didn’t even realize it.

I didn’t want to keep up with the blog.

I enjoyed time with friends, but all I did was complain about how much I hated my job.

Then it happened. I had a mental breakdown. I had to make a tough decision and do what was best for me.

I was able to be with my friends, not complain about anything (for the first time in awhile), and even joke around and laugh. One of my friends even said that I was smiling so much it was beginning to creep him out.

I found out some things that I should have never found out. But I realized that God had meant for me to find those things out because He knew that I wasn’t in a good place.

He knew that I needed better, and he helped me get to that point.

God is there if you listen. God was there when I had some conversations with a few close friends and my stepmom.

The only thing I had to do was listen to the advice that was given. Which isn’t always easy.

Reality is, nothing is easy. Life is full of choices. Sometimes easy ones, mostly hard ones.

Acts 8:26-29 says “Now an angel of the Lord said to Phillip, go South to the road-the desert road-that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship and on his way home he was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The spirit told Phillip, go to that chariot and stay near it.”

We talked about this story a few weeks ago at my church group. God had told Phillip to approach someone and have a conversation with someone at this chariot. A man that Phillip had never met, that he didn’t even know. I can’t say what was running through Phillips mine but I know that I would never be able to approach a random person and start having a conversation with them.

However, Phillip obeyed. And great things came out of it (you should read the full story!) because Phillip had obeyed.

I was in the same situation with different circumstances.

However, like Phillip, I had to listen to the advice that was given to me. If you ask for advice, but don’t listen to it, chances are the results are going to be disastrous. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

My point is, if you put yourself first once in awhile and do whats best for you, you’ll be better off. You’ll be a lot happier, you’ll appreciate things on a level much deeper than you could ever comprehend.

I’m not missing my brothers graduation.

I’m going to Cedar Point.

I refuse to miss out on my own life.

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

 

 

 

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Hold Them Tight

What a crazy weekend. It all started on Wednesday. I have a family member that isn’t doing too well, and my brother asked if we could go see him this weekend.

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to go. How am I going to pay for gas? How am I going to get out of work? How am I going to do this? How am I going to do that?

Surrounded by some close friends, they help guided me.

I called my boss and essentially told him what was going on. I felt bad because ever since I got the job it’s been one thing after another and I was worried about what he would think.

So we left Wednesday night and got here Thursday morning. It’s about a 5 hour drive from where I live to where my uncle lives. We got to see him today (Friday). And I’m glad we did. I made the right choice.

My boss will get over it. It’s not like I took the weekend off to go gamble, drink, and drug. No.

Family is important to me and I refuse to make the same mistake I did with my piano teacher.

I will never let my job come before my family.

Time is free, but we’re limited. We all have our own personal hourglass. We may think we have time, but God has our times planned.

Hold your loved ones close, make amends with those you care about, and spend as much time with them as you possibly can. We don’t have forever. We aren’t invincible and we aren’t immortal.

Pray. Live. Laugh. Love. Cherish.

God has a plan for everyone, do you know what yours is?

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

How Paul Listened and Trusted God

So, we left off when Paul stood in front of King Agrippa and shared his story. Now, Paul is setting sail for Rome to go in front of Nero. Since that is what he appealed for.

On his journey to Rome, they had come across a storm. Paul even predicted the storm in Acts 27:10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” However, nobody wanted to listen to Paul and they set sail directly into the storm.

However, what happens next is pretty awesome.

Paul tells them that they should have listened to him, but lives would be spared. “But now I urge you to keep your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I serve stood beside me and said Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you. So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.” (Acts 27:22-25).

The ship does wreck, but everyone does reach land safely. Only because Paul trusted the Lord, and he listened.

He trusted. 

I want to take a moment to acknowledge that trusting in God is a lot easier said than done. As humans, we want proof that something exists. We want immediate answers, and some of us (myself included) wants direct communication with God like the angel coming to Paul.

Prayer is communication, but we don’t always get an immediate response. It’s like playing phone tag with someone for about a week before you actually get a hold of that person.

However, prayer is essential. Trusting in God is essential. Without faith, we are nothing. Trusting in the unseen is basically what defines faith. I’ve made this argument before, and I’ll make it again.

We can’t see the wind, but we can feel it. We can see the effects wind has on the trees, us, the leaves.

We can’t see our internal organs, but we know they’re there. We know that they are functioning to keep us alive and breathing.

Just because we can’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not there and that we shouldn’t trust in it.

Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

 

Paul and his crew were in a crisis. But Paul knew what to do like it was second nature, because he trusted in God. Paul was walking by faith. I can honestly say that with prayer, and reading the word, knowing what to do when life gets you down will become second nature.

God doesn’t create our downfalls, he uses them for the better. He uses them so that we can know Him and trust Him. In the midst of tragedy, there is always something beautiful that can be taken from it. However, our eyes have to be open and we have to be awake if we want to take that beauty from the tragedy.

Are your eyes open? Do you trust in Him?

Photo by Nathan Pirkle on Unsplash

 

What Paul Can Teach Us About Reflections

I finally bought a planner yesterday and have my week planned out until Sunday. How refreshing it is to have something that helps me to stay on task.

Today, we are going to be looking at Acts 26 where Paul is standing in front of King Agrippa over some charges in which Paul was innocent. The charge basically boils down to spreading the news of Jesus and the Gospel.

Acts 26:9-11 is probably one of my favorite verses.

“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.”

Reading this passage almost makes me think of a bounty hunter. Except with a bounty hunter, they are hunting for people that haven’t paid off their bail bonds. Not their faith.

However, one of the many reasons why I love Paul is that he’s not afraid to admit what kind of person he was before his conversation with Jesus. It’s almost like he’s not ashamed. He admits that this was the kind of person that he was. However, if you read on, Paul tells King Agrippa about his encounter with Jesus. What happened, and the person that he became after his encounter with Jesus.

I think it’s important that we reflect on who we were before coming to Christ every once in awhile. It’s a reminder of who we were before and what we don’t want to be like. I think it’s important that we compare who we were to who we are now as a way to see how much we’ve grown.

People say we should forget our old selves because that’s not who we are anymore, but if we do that, we won’t know what we don’t want to be.

I’m still early in recovery, and I get these thoughts daily. “You’re not an alcoholic. You’re just fine.” If I want to keep my sobriety, then I have to analyze how I drank in the past.

Not only that, but constantly remembering who we were and comparing it to who we are now helps make for a great testimony. We can record what we were like, and what we are like now.

It’s like we made a copy of ourselves. Same features. Same eyes. Same hair. We’re looking at the copy of ourselves, and they look back at us. We look at our old self and see the suffering on their face. It’s a reminder of what led us to the suffering and what brought us out. What led is to God.

“After they left the room, they began saying to one another: This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment. Agrippa said to Festus, This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Ceaser.” Acts 26:31-32

I’m not sure why Paul could have been set free if he had not appealed to Ceaser, but one thing I do know. Paul wasn’t imprisoned at that moment. Paul didn’t die. Paul was doing the same thing other people were doing when Paul was persecuting them.

2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 

Paul wanted to appeal to Ceaser. Paul used to work for Ceaser, persecuting people in Ceaser’s name. Do you see how this could have gone so wrong?

Instead, he was sentenced back to Rome, which I guess is more like a parole/house arrest type thing. I’m not 100% sure but we will get more into that next time.

Photo by Brandon Wong on Unsplash

Giving My Testimony

Just an update, I added a new page to my blog.

It’s called “My Testimony.”

I wanted to make a video because I feel like it becomes more personal if you can see the person sharing. I was going to record it while I was sharing it at my church, but completely forgot.

I thank God that I have reached a point where I can feel like I can share my story. I pray that someone becomes impacted.

I wasn’t able to post the video directly, so I had to post it onto youtube. Feel free to check it out here

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

In the Midst of Persecution, God Was Still There

There are many events that have occurred in history where people were persecuted for their faith, skin color, and even culture.

Jewish people were killed during the holocaust because of the fact they were jewish. People who tried to save them from Hitler’s concentration camps could get severely punished if they were caught.

Back when slavery was (unfortunately) a thing, the Underground Railroad had developed. The brave men and women who escaped their “owners” could get persecuted if they were caught, and those involved with the Underground Railroad and helping to free these men and women could get persecuted just by helping them.

Note: I am not trying to undermine these events, or the people who had to endure the tremendous suffering they had to go through. I am not trying to undermine their feelings when I talk about those horrific events. 

Even today in some countries, people can get persecuted just for reading this blog post. It’s a sad thing that happens.

Those are just a few examples. It’s sad that both events happened because NOBODY should be punished for their faith, skin color, culture, etc.

When Paul was preaching, Caeser was king. What Caeser said, went. There were no ways around it and if Caeser wasn’t pleased, you were punished. This is what happened when Paul went to Thessolonica.

Paul started preaching about Jesus and His resurrection. Some people believed him, others didn’t. Others got mad because Paul was defying Caeser.

Paul and his friends found refuge in a man named Jason. Jason opened his doors to Paul, Timothy, and Silas. Knowing that Jason could get in huge trouble for harboring Christians in the name of Caeser.

When authorities found out about this from those who were angry at Paul for preaching the Gospel, they were irritated. “But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have no come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caeser’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” Acts 17:6-7.

They were arrested. Bond was posted, and other believers helped Paul, Silas, and Timothy to flee to Berea to continue to share the Gospel.

They were persecuted for sharing the truth!

Jason risked persecution just by helping a fellow Christian.

However, God never left Paul and his friends. God provided a way out through Jason. They were released on bond, and they fled.

Even though you may be feeling alone right now, know that God doesn’t leave you, forsake you, or abandon you. In the times when I feel like I can’t feel him, I pray. He WILL make Himself known, if you open your eyes and your ears and LISTEN.

Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash

God Moment!

I have to make this super quick because I have to leave for work here in about 20 minutes.

The stuff I usually post in the mornings will be posted tonight. My schedule is somewhat backwards today. I had church at 10:30 and got home at about quarter after 12. I have to be at work by two.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you guys about this because I’m super excited that it happened!

It’s been about a month since I’ve been to an actual church service. Between the new job and trying to figure out a decent schedule to put myself on, I’ve been very scattered.

Today, I went. I went with a friend to a new church which was exciting. Trying new things isn’t bad.

As I entered the church, the song “Better is One Day” (which is a great song, you can listen to it here) was stuck in my head.

At the worship part at the end, the praise band started singing it.

This song wasn’t stuck in my head, it was God playing it to me.

It was a sign that I needed. I firmly believe it was God reminding me how awesome it is to be in His house celebrating Him!

I’m so thankful to be living this life!

I’ll talk to you guys later, I have to get ready for work now!

Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash