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Category Archives: Faith
High school was fun. I enjoyed it but I wouldn’t say that it was the time of my life. There was a series of events that rocked my world to its core. I would later find that these things were God-ordained, and I thank Him for it now; but as the story unfolds, we will see that it was avoidable. I wish I could go back to my freshman self and teach him this all-important lesson.
For a lot of high schoolers, especially where I’m from, life is comfortable. Most of us have a short list of major responsibilities like schoolwork or sports but after that we are free to enjoy life. Most of us do not experience depression, suicidal thoughts, and other, “big ticket,” problems. But we all experience the, “routine,” problems of life, rejection, breakups, and failure on a variety of levels. I used to think God wasn’t part of these problems. He was there like the insurance company when your “house burns down,” but not when you have a “flat tire” in life. That was wrong. God, I found, often uses the routine ups and downs of life to teach us important lessons and he cares about the big things in your life as well as the small stuff.
So here’s where the story begins. I’m going into my senior year of high school expecting the greatest year of my life to date because that was how it had been sold to me. I had great expectations! But underneath these expectations were idols…Read more ›
Thinking of one piece of advice that I would’ve given to myself my freshmen year of high school is something I don’t have to consider greatly. The answer for me, specifically, is obvious. I would’ve sat me down and very bluntly told myself that I do not have the ability to save someone. Nor do I have the ability to be someone else’s foundation or source of security.
I befriended a girl my sophomore year of high school and soon afterwards, we entered into a relationship. I didn’t realize this at the time, but my effort to maintain and build that relationship was completely selfish. I made that relationship my everything – it was my salvation. She gave me purpose and for the first time, I was happy.
However, whenever that relationship was harmed, whether it was by me or someone else, it shook my foundation and I felt that everything around me was crumbling. After a worrisome and exhausting year of doing that, I got a call from her one night to come over to her house and that was all she said. On the ten minute drive from my house to hers I kept thinking that she was going to break it off. When I got to her house, I found out that that wasn’t the case. She told me over the course of three hours and streams of tears that she had an eating disorder call CE (Compulsive Eater). This began a difficult three years of regret…Read more ›
If I could pick just one situation from my list of many that I have learned from in my life, I would pick the last time I was in jail. I had been running from God for awhile up to this point; but because he is who he is, he kept pursuing me. Never giving up, he showed his face to me while in that dark place.
The thing I realized was that God had to strip everything away from me so that he could show me who was really in charge. I really had no control over my life at that point. I would just go along with what everyone else was doing even if I didn’t agree with it, just so that I could fit in. That obviously didn’t work out very well. By the time i was 20 I had been arrested 5 times and really had nothing of significance to show for my life. I had ruined my relationship with my family and friends, and wanted nothing to do with God. I didn’t feel that i deserved his grace.
But as it turns out, that was a lie that the devil was using to try and keep me from having a relationship with God. After that realization, I sat in a jail cell for a couple of days before I could finally go to a church service. The most significant thing about that service was that I was able to get my hands on a bible, which I was able to take back to my cell with me. At that point, I felt like this was something that was just between me and Christ. I didn’t feel like I had to live up to any certain “standard.” (And if you have been around enough christians you know exactly what I’m talking about).
I felt a sense of freedom, which is funny now, because my body was not free. I was being told when to wake up, when I could shower, and when I could eat; but for the first time, my soul felt a sense of freedom I had never felt in my life.
Today I reflected on not having a father my entire life. This train of thought was partially false and partially true. The part that is true is that my father, John Dewey Reed II was taken from this Earth on May 9, 1991 and i was born May 27, 1991. All I ever knew of my father were stories that I treasure to this day more than anything else in this world. So literally, the man I am named after, resemble and come from, was never there for me by no choice of his own (though if it was his choice, I know he would be sitting next to me, swapping stories and that my life would be very different).
The false part of my train of thought earlier today was that I did have a surrogate father. As cliche as this may sound, God has been my father my entire life. When a man marries a woman and starts a family, his number one priority is to provide for and care for that family. His number one priority is to work as hard as he can to make a better life for those he loves. In my father’s absence, God has done this. My heavenly father has provided for me and my mother in some of the toughest of times. Even when it seemed like we were going to sink, God was working behind the scenes to keep us afloat. Amazingly enough, God directly and indirectly molded me into the man I am today.
Growing up without a father had its many gloomy moments, and when I look at the statistics, I see that I had the odds stacked against. I was 9 times more likely to drop out of high school than normal boys that didn’t come from broken homes; 32 times more likely to end up homeless, on the streets; 10 times more likely to end up addicted to a chemical substance and 20 times more likely to end up in prison…Read more ›
I had a really close friend, Logan Chesnut, who was diagnosed with Leukemia about 2 years ago. Every week, I would talk to him about God and what Jesus did for all of us. At first he didn’t think that Christ was the only way to heaven, but being a good person was. He believed there was a God and that he created everything, but he didn’t really understand, or live for Him.
Over a period over a year, his Leukemia went away and he was almost home free, but I still continued to talk to him and ask where he stood in his faith with Christ. He was never too sure and could never really give me a straight answer. A few weeks later, his leukemia came back and was worse this time. He dropped from 165 pounds to 106 pounds and was basically withering away. I still continued to talk to him about what it meant to be a follower of Christ and how to do so.
He told me that the reason he stayed friends with me for so long compared to anyone else was how I carried myself. I didn’t cuss, drink, I was polite to everybody, and I cared about how he was doing, visiting him multiple times a week in the hospital.
One night I was compelled to call him one more time and talk to him about Christ. I asked him where he stood on his faith and he replied to me that He had accepted Christ into his heart and was baptized in his home (unable to go into public because of his leukemia). I literally broke down crying I was so relieved by his decision.
The next week I was planning on visiting him at his house before I went back to school. I was so hectic in packing, that it completely slipped my mind to visit him one last time. I arrived at school and that very night I received a phone call that he passed away..
I was so distraught that I didn’t see him one last time, but remembered that he accepted Christ into his life and was in a better place, with no more pain. And the best part was that I knew that I would see him forever! I have been at peace since that time, knowing that he accepted Christ into his life, and that I had a little part in helping him get there!
Ever since he got sick, I shared with him one of my favorite verses in the Bible, which was announced as his inspirational quote at his funeral, dedicated to me.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18-
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
– Marcus Grimaldi
“Be a man!” says the world. This phrase gets tossed around so much. Too much. The reality is that it’s hard to put a finger on exactly what it means, and yet this is the mandate demanded by our friends, teachers, and family. “Be a man!” What does it mean to you? Does it mean facing cold hard reality head on? Does it mean being the biggest guy around? The richest? What qualifies us worthy of being a man? Is there a purpose in the lives of young men these days perhaps much greater than what the world says we are to be?
If you’re reading this post, chances are that God led you here. God is moving you in a certain course through life. He knows where He wants you to go and where you’ll end up. There’s also probably a point in your past when you realized this and gave in to it. When you submitted your life to Christ, and you asked God to come in and work in you. Though we may wrestle with the path sometimes, we want to follow what He’s laid out for us. For me that journey started in 7th grade. Up until that point, church was a place I had to be guilt-tripped into going to where I would sit for an hour or so solving puzzles on the little children’s pamphlet while this old dude talked too slow for my tastes. God seemed cool and all but never did He cross my mind outside of Sunday morning. That all changed when my brother started losing it.
I was hiking through the woods one day when I came across a small box. Inside was a small copy of some book called “Psalms and Proverbs”, a candle, and a box of matches. Being a naive young man, I run back home thinking I had found some sort of treasure. Upon returning I soon found it was my brother’s. I had apparently stumbled upon his secret praying spot. But he was done trying. That box hadn’t been opened in some time.
Many people seem to remember the exact point at which they received Christ. I’m not one of those people, but I do remember my first prayer. “God, if you’re real, please help my brother.” Since then I’ve made many prayers. And many of them have been geared towards my brother. There have been countless times where I all but assumed he was too far gone. But I’ve learned that a huge part of being the man that God wants us to be is having faith. And the first step in being a man of faith is being a man of prayer. Rest in God’s works knowing that He has the greatest plan. We never have to fear. We never have to give up on our brothers. I wanna challenge you guys to live like that. To always pray and never fear.
“The prayer of a righteous man avails much.” – James 5:16.
Love you guys,