Preston

Healthy Things

Lately it has felt like everything I do or I am trying to do is failing or just isn't good enough. I have moments of passion for my music and art and then I face moments of doubt that paralyze me. I have doubts that what I am doing will never be known. It will never make an impact. But I recently ran across a quote (don't know who said it) that says,

"It's not about being big, it's about being healthy, because heathy things grow".

Sometimes we are so focused on making sure our life erupts with success in what we are pursuing so we can take it a little easier. But that's just not how things work all the time. We have to be patient and remember that life works in seasons. If things are going slow for you in your day to day, just think about how plants grow. It all starts with a seed, your passion or dream. You have to water the seed and figure out what the best way to make it grow is. It won't just sprout up overnight, it takes time and patience. It takes a lot of work weeding all the things that are holding you back or getting in your way, but if you tend to your plant properly, and with patience, you will have a healthy full grown plant, your work will not have gone waisted.

"Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy"  Psalm 126: 4-6

- Preston

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Opportunity to Love

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I realized after moving out of my childhood home that it can be really easy to start thinking in terms of a singular perspective. We have certain paradigms that we grow up with that aren't always going to be the same for everyone, and I just recently became fully aware of this idea while talking to a coworker/friend.

We had been talking about our lives growing up, and we soon both came to realize we had been raised in completely different environments. It was a good conversation with stories of childhood foolishness, good family times, and of course food. The conversation ended with my coworker jokingly saying I was just a "rich kid". I have never wanted to be completely broke financially until that moment in my life.

It wasn’t said in any demeaning way. It was simply said to show I had just been more blessed and privileged than he was. It made me think of how much we oftentimes disregard people because they aren't the same as us, how we think less of someone just because of their situation they are in that we have no understanding of. We put people at different levels of importance to us and our lives. Either one of us could have given the cold shoulder, but instead we simply didn’t care about where we came from. We both instead decided to value the fellowship and community we had with one another.

Just listen
to their story.

It's become clear to me from this situation and the last couple months, just how important love is. How important it is to just listen to other people speak for a minute and gain a new perspective. Just listen to their story. Its important to make friends with the community of people around you; that’s what makes it a community. We are all people, we all have problems, and we all need one another. There isn't one person who is better than the other, I mean I feel like I am repeating myself, but how many times do you put yourself above the various people around you? It's a big problem in our culture to try and make ourselves the center. To make what we are and have done seem like the best or the only way to do it, when there is actually no 'set' way. We are so narrow minded and don't put down our defenses long enough to gain a new perspective. I find myself doing this a lot with certain societal issues that I've had opinions about for a long time. But that’s just the problem, a lot of what we think to be the right way are just opinions we've decided to build our lives on. That is why I believe it is hard for people to actually listen sometimes.

We are all people, we all have problems, and we all need one another.

Romans 12:9-10 says, "Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." 

Jesus stressed love so much in his ministry. Its sometimes hard for me to look around at fellow brothers and sisters and not see love being demonstrated the way that it should be. Paul talks about love in Corinthians and says it is so many things, but I think it's important to just remember love has to start with us, by making the choice to love people and seeing it as an opportunity and not a nuisance.

- Preston

 

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Way Too Many Compromises

I think I'd be ok to say that we all live pretty selfish lives. We think about ourselves before almost anything else. This isn't necessarily bad, it's just human nature. It is bad though when we don't let ourselves get past our first initial self centered thoughts.

There have been so many times where I've been in situations and all I can think about is me. The situation I keep finding myself doing this is when I am walking by the homeless. I try not to make eye contact with them. I walk briskly by and sometimes even ignore them when they try and make conversation. I know, I know, I'm a jerk. But I've now made it a point to just embrace the opportunity to show love to anyone at anytime. What could I possibly have that is more important than spreading Christ's love?

The big idea here is that we make way too many compromises. Let's look at this in a big picture way. Throughout life we make excuses when situations come our way. We start to think certain things are more important than the Kingdom. We are too old or young to live out the desires God has placed in our hearts, the list goes on, but God has given us specific gifts and tasks to do and they bring glory to Him.

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
— John 17:4

It can be hard to stay focused on the work that God has given us. But that is the whole point to our existence. I've noticed that It's always pretty easy for young people to have big goals and dreams that seem impossible, but are willing to work hard and not let the odds mean anything to them. And I've seen and experienced myself, the reaction older people have to young dreamers. It's a mixture of excitement and jerkiness. To me it shows that maybe they had dreams that they compromised so they could do "life", when in reality compromising your dreams takes all the life out of living. This isn't a bash on the older generations, it's more of a callback to your dreams. It can be hard to look back at your life and realize you didn't really do what you wanted. It can be paralyzing, but it doesn’t have to be.

God wants a generation of elderly people who are willing to change, even though they are told they cannot.
— Francis Chan, You and me Forever

If it's hard for young people to find themselves and what they love, and express that with their life, it has to be a million times harder for older people who compromised themselves for an "ordinary" life. It's never too late to make a change though. We have to think selflessly and remember that the dreams God has put in us are our jobs, the work that will bring Him glory.

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Finally Being Comfortable

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I can't help but be reminded again and again just how short our lives are. The scary thing is is that it seems as I get older, time goes by quicker and quicker. It's pretty clear in the Bible that our life on earth is equivalent to that of a camping trip. Over and over again in the New Testament our life/our bodies are referred to as tents or a tabernacle, and at the same time we are referred to as sojourners to earth. To me this is just a great picture. It helps me put time into perspective.

Typically when camping, you take very minimal supplies. You just take what is necessary to stay out for the time you aren't home. Most of the time by the end of the trip you are just waiting to finally get home and sleep in your warm cozy bed and be able to properly clean yourself. You're not really supposed to be comfortable on a camping trip. It's you against nature. So in this same way we are on a camping trip. A camping trip that God has sent us on. There is no need to take along with us tons of supplies because In a little while we will just be going home.

A while back I was constantly thinking of just how much I want to be in the presence of God, face to face with Him in heaven. I was tired of seeing people be so fake and I didn't really feel like dealing with the world and its problems anymore. I couldn't quite express how I was feeling and I still can't really, if you couldn't tell. But I read 2 Corinthians 5 and it described exactly how I was feeling,

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 NKJV

We as sojourners are waiting to go home.

We as sojourners are waiting to go home. We are longing to finally get home from this uncomfortable camping trip we are on. But we have to be patient. We have to remember that this tent is only temporary, and if we are to die and leave this earth we have nothing to worry about because we have something better than a tent. God has a new dwelling for us in heaven that is eternal.

Verse four is the verse that spoke to me the most when I first read it.

"For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.”

I realized that when I was feeling completely done with the world, I was just feeling the effects of being away from my home so long. The camping trip was starting to show me its challenges and I just wanted to go home instead of pushing through. I have to remind myself daily that each day is one day closer to going home, it's one day closer to finally being comfortable.

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Intentionally Seeking His Kingdom

Often times we wake up every morning and immediately think to what is on the schedule for the day. There is usually one part in the day that we are just dreading and we are just waiting for it to be over so we can relax. I think that if we are living as Jesus demonstrated us to, we should be living everyday intentionally.

Our existence on earth is for us to be rooted in our identity in Christ, and to actively live our lives knowing our identity and calling. When we choose to live our lives according to Christ it is a life of intentionally seeking His Kingdom first in all that we do (Matthew 6:33). I'll be the very first to say I am horrible at doing this, but I've learned that when I am living intentionally I experience a peace and joy that I don't get from anything else.

When we choose to live our lives according to Christ it is a life of intentionally seeking His Kingdom first in all that we do

I think it is interesting that the very first thing that Jesus said to Peter and Andrew was, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Mark 1:16-18). Peter and Andrew had to ask themselves if they were willing to follow Jesus and start to live intentionally for Him. That is essentially what we should be asking ourselves everyday. Are we going to just get through the day and be happy when it's finally over, or are we going to look for opportunities to spread the same love that Jesus spread.

It can be really hard to do this everyday, but It makes it a lot more doable for me when I'm either spending time alone with God, digging into the Word, and spending time in worship every morning. If you just do one of these things I bet you'll find yourself living a lot more intentionally. Some mornings I do all three or some mornings I just do one, but all that matters really is that you're kick starting your day with the Kingdom in mind.

Let's be honest though , I forget to do this more than I'd like, but I really do notice the difference in my mental processing through the day. When I forget to spend time digging deeper I don't have as much of a positive view on things and tend to be really self-deprecating. When I do dig deeper, I start to live more intentionally. I am more positive and passionate about life and I am more friendly and understanding towards people. This is definitely a life long process and you'll only get better at it the more you do it, but it just starts with you asking yourself if you're going follow Jesus today.

 
 

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