Yesterday you said tomorrow.
It feels as if I haven’t blogged in forever.
Oy vey! Woe is me. I suppose I shall divulge bits and pieces of my life in a quick bundle.
First: Youth Group Retreat
‘Twas good. It was four days of away-from-ness. Away from burdens at home. Away from old pressures. Away from old fears. I was away. And it felt nice. I did go jogging like I said (yes!). Good thing too, because that helped prepare me for soccer pre-season. I can run with the head group because I’ve been practicing endurance/interval running. I was doing 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking for like 16 to 20 minutes. I did it a few days ago around my neighborhood as well. During soccer today I ran for 11 minutes straight! Then walked for a minute and then jogged again to finish. Got done the run in 14 minutes, 15 seconds. Then we did more stuff and later some sprint/jogs and I was A-okay. That was all due to practice(: Anyway, I have gotten way off topic.
There was this dude, Matt, who is a friend of our Youth Minister, Dayne. He works at Liberty University (big Christian university – very popular I think). He was with us for the four days and he did all of the messages. They were good. Among other things, he spoke of being constantly in your Word (Bible), actually doing what the Bible says, studying God’s image and then purging our old one and removing our own uncleanliness so that we can be more like God. He spoke of us being the aroma of Christ, being a new creation once we are reconciled to Him, and being ambassadors for Him. Christians are supposed to be representations of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I aim to be that Christian.
We went to Busch Gardens and stayed there all day. ‘Twas fun. Got on every ride.
We went to the outlet mall in Williamsburg and chatted it up with strangers. I met fellow Christians, Muslims, those who believed in nothing, etc. We prayed for and/or with them. We just had a good time talking with people, explaining what we know to be true, and sharing God’s love. I want that to become a habit of mine – talking to strangers…about God(:
There was also a hayride via John Deere’s green tractor. There was a popcorn bonfire. This lady had a big black kettle and something with which to suspend it atop the bonfire, poured in peanut oil and kernels and voila(: I was happy about this. I likee popcorn..and no butter? Totally vegan friendly 😀 However, we did not simply chow down on popcorn during this nightly bonfire. We talked about our days experience (this was the night of the talking to strangers outreach). I spoke of meeting this boy, Koreem. He had recently turned eighteen and was a Muslim. I asked him how he believed he got to Heaven. He basically told me that by doing good works, trying not to sin, and hopefully you’ll get to Heaven. The word that he used that stuck out to me was hopefully. If I’m living to hopefully get to Heaven, well that just sucks. Hopefully means that there is a chance that Heaven will not be meeting me on my death day. Well that’s just crap and yes, woe is me. I countered his belief with my own. Ephesians 2: 8 – 9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Romans 10:9 says, “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” I basically gave a small summary of these verses to him. What I wanted to say..and didn’t – crap me – was what James said in James 2:18, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” I wish that I had said that, but I didn’t. Oh well. For next time. Basically, faith without works is dead (James 2:17). You can’t have faith in God without the desire to do things for God. The way I see it is like my relationship with any loved one. I don’t buy you stuff, make you a delicious meal, rub your back, make you charm bracelets, etc., because I feel that I have to or that you shall smack me if I don’t, but I do so because I love you. And that is why I want to do good works for my Lord in whom I put my faith and trust.
As we came back from the trip, almost as soon as we exited Virginia actually, I got scared. This fear and anxiety came upon me. I wanted to cry. I did cry actually (when I got home though). Something in me just said, “You’re not going to change. Everything that you gave to God in Williamsburg is no more. Your burdens are your own again, sweetheart. You’re going to continue to yell at your mum. You’re going to continue to not read your Bible. You’re going to continue appearing to be a great Christian leader among your school, your church, and your friends, but inside you’re going to be dead – like whitewashed tombs, babe. YOU HAVE NOT CHANGED.” Come on. That is pretty frightening. Those might not have been the exact words of the voice inside my own head but they are close enough. I was scared. But..ding-a-ling! Having-God’s-Word-in-my-heart-moment! I recalled Philippians 4:6, Do not be anxious for anything, but in all things, in prayer and supplication, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding shall guard your hearts. As well as Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. And then Philippians 4:20, To God our Father, be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:6 is my main man, bro. It’s my go-to. I get anxious and scared and fearful and worried so often. After saying these verses to myself and praying, I felt much better. I even spoke to my mum about how I wanted a permanent change and so far so good – it’s been six days since my return.
Part 2 of this post shall be in another post. I’ve typed a lot already. See ya soon.
P.S. – I’m not really Hermione Granger, of course. It just rhymed with “stranger” and I am a HP fan.