devotionals

Random Devotional 4: If I Were Crazy, Then Would You Still Call Me…

Originally Posted: July 16, 2006 (Age 17)

College is like riding a ride at Six Flags that you’ve never done before. You didn’t decide to get in line, but they put you in line twelve years ago. A few people give up and turn around before they get to the ride, but most of them just keep filing through, so you figure you might as well be one of them.

It shouldn’t be scary, because you see the people ahead of you on the ride, and you know exactly what’s coming. But it is still kinda scary, because even though you know what it looks like, you don’t know how the experience is going to effect you. So instead of thinking too much about it and making yourself nervous, you just pretend it’s still a long ways away and try to enjoy yourself where you are in line, having fun with the friends around you, because they’re in line just like you are.

Finally, however, it’s your turn. They strap you in and up you go. You’ve been training for this for years; you’re as ready as you could ever be, and now you’re being taken to the top. You look down and see the people behind you in line, waiting for their turn.

You get to the top and it stops. Reflection time. Here you are, about to start an exciting stage of your life. Before you know it, it will all be over. Even though you know exactly what’s about to happen, you’re really starting to get nervous now.

There’s just so much uncertainty. Sure, you’ve picked out a major, and you know what your interests are, but those aren’t completely the same things. Truth is, you have know idea what you’re supposed to do with your life. Sure, you have an idea of what the perfect girl looks like, but you haven’t met her yet, and you know you never will, but your lingering latest crush doesn’t seem close enough, yet you don’t know why it won’t go away, either. Truth is, you have no idea who you’re going to marry, or who your next relationship will be, or if those are completely the same things.

People arrive at these things at different times in their lives. Other cars on the other sides of the tower start dropping, and you know that your time is about to come, but you don’t know when. It seems to be a completely random process.

But you know it’s been done thousands of times before. You know that it’s not random, that it’s being controlled by a power beyond yours, and that each car will drop at its proper time. You are reassured of the harness supporting you, and you know that God has you in his hands, and everything is under control. In that instant, as you overlook the ground below and everything that you have come from, you surrender yourself to his plan, his purpose, his perfect designs.

And then you fall.

You are completely terrified.

And then everything slows down, and you think, that was awesome.

You reach the ground, and everything is exactly as it is supposed to be.

You may not be Superman, but you know you can fly.

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devotionals

Random Devotional 3: We Are Like Ewoks

Originally Posted: May 26, 2006 (Age 17)

I was watching Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi the other day when I noticed something that intrigued me.

When the Ewoks capture Luke and Han and their group, they think that the droid C3PO is a god. They place him on a primitive throne and prepare to roast the humans in a banquet in his honor. Obviously, it wouldn’t do for the good guys to give up the universe to the big bad boys of the dark side because of a few stupid furry creatures who want to eat them. Leia, who has somehow befriended the Ewoks and is not part of the dinner, tells C3PO, “Tell them they must be set free.”

He conveys the message to the Ewoks, who do not like this. They shake their heads, their leader barks orders, and they pile more wood on the barbeque. Only moments ago they were treating C3PO like a god! Shouldn’t they obey his every command? It’s not that they suddenly stopped thinking he was a god; they just didn’t like this god’s new command.

Well, we often treat God like this. On the face of things, sure, we’ll obey God. After all, he is God. But then we come across commands that we don’t want to follow. So we shake our heads and continue in our rebellious ways. It’s not that we don’t think he’s God anymore; we just don’t want to obey everything.

Yet if we step back and think about it, this is foolishness. We obeyed him before because he was God, and nothing has changed about that!

After Luke used the force to make C3PO float in the air, the Ewoks obeyed his commands. But now they were not obeying him because he was a god. They were obeying him because they were afraid to disobey him.

This may not all completely transfer theologically, but the basic point is, as you go about your life obeying God, you can either do it because he is God or because you are afraid of the further consequences of disobedience. The first choice is much more peaceful and satisfying.

devotionals

Random Devotional 2: Being Humbled

Originally Posted: April 6, 2006 (Age 17)

A friend of mine recently posted a bulletin about being humbled because she got accepted into a different college than her top choice. Or something like that. I reflected on how God sometimes likes to humble us simply by screwing up our plans. Like a little nudge every now and then in case we forget that we’re not in control of our own lives.

I said I’d never work at McDonald’s. I’ll stop by to pick up a paycheck tomorrow morning. I said I’d never go to Lindenwood University. I will be registering for classes there tomorrow. Now all I have to do is declare that I’m never going to date some girl and I’ve got myself a wife.

Alright, so God likes to make things happen the way we don’t want them to sometimes. But that’s not always a bad thing. McDonald’s hasn’t been a bad job. And I’m really looking forward to starting college at Lindenwood this fall.

So, next time you get upset that things don’t go your way, try to think of it as God just trying to remind you that he’s the one in control, and that you’ll end up better off for it.

devotionals

Random Devotional 1: Slaves and Desires

Originally Posted: March 19, 2006 (Age 17)

I’m going to start posting random devotionals about what God’s doing in my life or what’s on my heart. Maybe it will even be used to speak to you. The first one is a result of a song I was listening to in my car and thoughts I had upon waking up this morning.

There is a line in Switchfoot’s song “Lonely Nation” that says, “We are slaves of what we want.” There are many things that we want. Money. Toys. Gadgets. Video games are a favorite topic for teachers and youth pastors. But our desires transcend material things. We want attention. Acceptance. Love.

There is nothing wrong with these desires. I desire them myself. It only becomes a problem when we begin to make decisions based only on these desires. We do things because we want to do them, or because we want something or someone, without caring about God or others think. Our desires control us. When we can no longer say “no” if saying “no” will separate us from our desire ~ that is when we have become “slaves of what we want.”

Matthew 6:24 says “No man can serve two masters.” If we are serving our desires, we are not serving God. Life is not just about having fun and being funny, and doing whatever we feel like doing. Life is not about us!

We need to continually remind ourselves to seek the happiness of others before our own. We need to continually remind ourselves that God’s purposes are more important than our own. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) And when we remember to put God first, he will end up giving us the things that we need, and often the things that we want, too.

Like it or not, we have to be slaves of something. If you try to be your own master, you will be a slave of your desires. Considering the options, I would much rather be a slave of God.