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Monday, February 09, 2004

One Week Off
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I took a little break from blogging, a little over a week off to be exact--but definitely not by choice thanks to a total of having 7 quizzes and tests total last week along with having to read over 220 pages of a novel about the Vietnam War for English. Having said all that, it is pretty evident that I've been a little busy, especially when you add into the mix that I made a trip back to Greenville this weekend to visit with the family and friends. During this week off, I found myself so wrapped up in the cares of school and work that I put them first in my life. During just one week, I put the cares of this world above all other things in my list of priorities. Just one week off from my normal pattern, but I fell far from my life of putting Christ first in every aspect of my life and I felt the negatives that once consumed my life sneak back in. Of course, some people might think that just one week away from Christ isn't really all that bad. In fact, I have even heard the argument that absence makes the heart grow fonder. However, when you're dealing with God, that argument is anything but true. Just one week off from following God is quite possibly the worst mistake that could be made. Just one week away from Christ's words and teachings endangers the very soul of whoever is falling away from Jesus because He is returning, but we don't know when. It could be any moment. How will Christ find you when he returns? Jesus posed this question himself when he said:

"Watch out! Don't let me find you living in careless ease and drunkenness, and filled with the worries of this life. Don't let that day catch you unaware, as in a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep a constant watch. And pray that, if possible, you may escape these horrors and stand before the Son of Man." -Luke 21:34-36

We do not know the second or minute or even the hour of the returning of Christ, but we do know that He is returning. He will catch you unaware and very possibly during your one week off. The only way to avoid this is don't take a week off from God. Thankfully I have great friends and family who have helped me regain my footing on the path following Jesus Christ. Hopefully I can return the favor to someone who needs it.

Until next time--take care and God bless.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Victory in Defeat
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There is no doubt in anyone's minds that today is Super Bowl Sunday, the epitome of what football should be. Of course, this Super Bowl held even bigger implications for myself, since I have been a Carolina Panthers fan since their inception. At kickoff time, I found myself completely absorbed into the game and not caring about anything but a win for my favorite team, but as the final seconds rolled off of the clock I found myself staring at the cold hard truth of defeat. Finally awakened to defeat I felt as though the game was useless and so was the season. Quickly I realized that the outcome of one game does not in any way defeat or take away the entire season of highs and joyous moments. The victory for the Panthers and their fans is the great season and the promises of greater things to come. Much in the same manner as the Super Bowl outcome not lessening a terrific season, we should also remember the life of our Lord and Savior. Jesus lived the most amazing life of anyone in recorded (or unrecorded) history with lessons about this life and the one to come. Though what seemed to His disciples as a defeat when Jesus died on the cross, it really only marked the ending of sin as the barrier between God and all His children. We know now that Jesus's death was anything but a defeat, but the true victory over sin. This victory came out of seeming defeat. For every single person in this world, there is now a victory over sin and death and all the things in this world--just by belief in Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah and the true Lord and Savior of your life. The fact that this victory is for everyone and anyone who believes is reaffirmed by the apostle John when he wrote:

"For every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory. And the ones who win this battle against the world are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Son of God." -1 John 5:4-5

Never forget the truth of this victory. Belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God, who died on the cross and raised himself from the dead for your sins is the ultimate victory. So no matter what the situation or whatever small defeat you may encounter in your day-to-day life, remember that there is victory even in that defeat, because God loves you and Jesus died for your sins. Victory in victory, Victory in defeat and always Victory in Christ.

Until next time--take care and God bless.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Power of One
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In case you don't know, my English 102 class is focusing on the literature of the Vietnam War and during today's discussion we hit on the significance and power of just one day. We were discussing how drastic and compelling the actions of just one day during the war was, when we looked through a photo essay in which a 19 year old marine was followed through just one day. He lead some of the South Vietnamese soldiers on a routine flight and landing, but the mission turned into anything but routine when the enemy ambushed the two helicopters upon landing. The essay showed the young marine pulling his fallen comrade onto the remaining helicopter and mourning over the body as they flew back to base. The power of just one day left a previously happy soldier, grief stricken. The power of one day changed the whole complexion of the war for this young soldier. The power of just one ambush. The power of one death. The power of one murder. It made me think of how much power just one death can have. I thought about it and realized that in our modern society, we allow death and the fear of death to run much of what we choose to do and not to do. I began to wonder why we allow it to run our lives so much of the time and as I was reading the Bible, I found that death is something that should not hold any power over us or our actions. The words that Jesus spoke to Martha comforting her after Lazarus's death show that death is powerless in comparison to the only begotten Son of God:

"I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish." -John 11:25-26

In these words, Jesus shows his unending dominion over death and promises eternal life to believers. Death has no power over Jesus and no longer does just one death have any power over man because of the sacrifice that was given on Mount Calvary. The power over death is now in the hearts of believers all over the world and why? Because the power of just one perfect life, the power of one risen Christ, the power of the one true God, and the power of One with unending love. Yes, there is most definitely a power of one--but that one is not day nor death (nor AT&T Suncom Wireless), it is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Until next time--take care and God bless.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Frozen Blessings Missed
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The old saying "if you give a mouse a cookie, he's gonna want some milk" has never been more true than in the past day here at Clemson University. If you live anywhere in the North Carolina, Georgia or the upper part of South Carolina, you know of the nice wintery weather we have just experienced. With this storm brought the cancellation of classes all of Monday and on Tuesday through 11 AM. You would think that the students here would be extremely excited over having a nice extended weekend, but the first thing I heard from my friend when I woke up this morning was a string of cussing followed by "they couldn't just extend it one hour." This continues to baffle me how students that have been allowed time to just chill and hang out with friends could be angry over the fact that the University wouldn't cancel all classes today. (**NOTE I too felt a little upset until I realized how silly it was to be angry that I was going to get to miss two classes today.) People are too focused on what they want instead of being happy and content with what they have, so I decided to look through the scriptures to see if I could find something that I could relate to the anger felt by my good friend and found a passage that I found really applicable in Paul's letter to the Phillippians:

"How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need."-Philippians 4:10-13

This passage helps me realize that it doesn't matter what I have or don't have, how many friends I have or don't have, how many classes I have to go or can miss, or anything else--all that matters is that Jesus Christ is my refuge and my source of strength in happiness and sorrow, good times and bad, and at festivals and funerals. No matter what anyone can say or do, I have the greatest gift of all in God's unending love and mercy. I truly hope that all my friends that know Christ as their Lord and Savior will realize that whether we have to go to class or not is truly an issue that matters not and that they need to be content with knowing Jesus Christ. I truly hope that all my friends that do not yet know Christ will be able to see His glory and majesty soon and come to the joy that is knowing the one and only begotten Son of God.

Until next time--take care and God bless.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Intro
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I'm Chris and this blog marks the start of a (hopefully) regular journal of my journey of growth in Christ. I'll introduce myself starting with my college experiences (I'm a first-year student at the beginning of semester #2 at Clemson University). Back in the fall, I had no faith in Christ or belief that God truly existed as I went about my daily life. I was living an immoral and lonely life until the night I decided to have some fun the night of Clemson's homecoming victory in OT over the University of Virginia. Fifteen shots in thirty minutes to someone who doesn't drink was extremely fun until I woke up in the hospital--this marked the beginning of my worst period. During the weeks after "the incident", I felt abandoned by people I had once trusted in as best friends and felt very alone. I became angry and bitter through the next few weeks as I grew more isolated and my bitterness and contempt of everyone came to a head over Thanksgiving break. I saw nothing but disagreement with family and no friends until a major argument with the only 'friends' I thought I had left (my parents) pushed me past the breaking point. It was during this break where I contemplated suicide more than had ever before and actually used a razor blade to cut myself on the upper part of my thighs (where no one could see). As the break ended, my life only worsened as I became ill with an extremely bad cold that lasted for the better part of two weeks. During the week of my exams, I began to seek an inner peace and some semblence of resolution to the huge amounts of hate, anger, bitterness and apathy I had in my life. It was over Christmas break that I finally began to read the Bible and attend church again. I felt a rush of new life and a dissipation of all the negatives in my life as I began to seek God in everything I did. I found refuge in God, power in prayer and a hope for life in Jesus Christ. I have since recommitted my life to Christ and began to study God's Word and just finished reading the book of Matthew. The unending love, mercy, faithfulness and morality that exudes from the way in which Jesus lived is amazing beyond description, but still pales in comparison to the strength and courage He showed when He took all the sins of the world away when He died on the cross.

This has been a short sort of introduction to me and a somewhat quick summary of what I believe. Hopefully I can blog regularly with new insights on the things that I have found in reading and studying God's Word. I want to close this blog with the verse that I have on my desktop because I think it is a helpful reminder to let the light of Christ shine through in everything you do, so that all praise goes to Him. So until next time, take care and may God bless.

"Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
-Matthew 5:16

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