Radiant

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27

I love this verse. It seems so simple yet it reveals so much about who we are and the purpose that we have been created for. I used to not think this way. I used to feel like I didn’t have a purpose or that I wasn’t good enough. My self-image was based on what other people would say or treat me like, and this made me feel so crushed. I used to be self-conscious about my body; I’m a very tall and skinny guy with a large nose, and kids I used to go to school with would rip me apart because of it. I hated it. I would wear hoodies all the time to hide my arms and never tried too hard to stand out. At home and with my close friends I felt great, they made me feel the way all of us should feel; wanted and important. Then I would go to school, it was difficult. I have always been a geeky kid who read comics and watched science fiction TV (If you couldn’t already tell by the name of the blog). I felt bad about who I was, yet I was exactly who God made me to be. The truth is, I think this is true for many of us, for you. We feel as if we don’t add up to the super-model standard that society seems to adore. We feel that we have to like what everyone likes, have a perfect body, have a picture perfect life; but we weren’t made for that. God made us for more, because he made us in his image, and those implications mean so much more than we can imagine. God created us to seek and save the lost, to bring hope to the hopeless, to fight for what is good and right. God made us to be radiant.

Continue reading

Thank (Full)

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

This is a big year. My life at this time will look radically different from what it looks like now. I will be graduating and begin the search for jobs. I will be moving into new places and meeting new people. I will face new challenges and old hurts. I am very nervous about this next year. Last week I wrote about fears, I wrote about the reminders that I have to give to myself on a daily basis, because fear is the thing that tries to tear me down. I fear being a failure, I fear being rejected, and most of all I fear dying and having my life not have made an impact. I believe that God has made each one of us special and unique, capable of doing incredible things. Yet, I have seen people close to me take this fact for granted and run after their own desires. Our desires, our earthly desires, are meaningless. Sure making money to provide for your family is good and all, but why is that the focus of your life? There is so much more to life. You have so much more to give. I’m still one of those crazy people that believes I can change the world, I believe that you can change the world too. In a season of life where I feel afraid of the future and what it might bring, I choose to be thankful no matter what. I choose to be thankful, because I am full of thanks. In the midst of my fears and weakness I’m reminded about the things I have been blessed with, and in the midst of your own fears and weaknesses, you can be thank full too.

Continue reading

A Love Letter from Your Creator

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

-Psalm 139:13-14

This is a message from our creator. The one who formed every part of you, every hair on your head was created by him. Every detail, every part of you that you see as a flaw was formed in the hand of God. Every part of who you are was created outside of time, then brought into time. Ever thought that runs past your head came from the personality and free will you were designed with. The skills, the talents, the dreams, the will to press on; all designed by your creator. The one who gave you life, and sacrificed his son so that you may find hope in him. This is a love letter from your creator. The creator who holds the universe in his hands, who is outside of the concepts of time and reality as we know it, and the one who can do anything; he chose to make you. He says that you are beautiful, you are awesome, and you are his.

Continue reading

Reclaiming Prayer

I think we have lost something. Lost something that brings us closer to God. Something that is a necessity of life. Prayer seems to be put on the back burner of most of our lives. I know for me, I often don’t think about the importance of prayer, so I’ll get caught up in serving others and pursuing God’s vision and I forget to come to him first! It’s such a silly thing, I’m running after what God wants for me, yet I forget to come to him first in all things. I think that is a trait that has been happening to many believers, we are running after the vision, but we forget to come humbly to God in prayer first. Now I know some of you may be thinking, I haven’t lost prayer, I pray in the mornings and before I eat a meal! This is good and is vital to our walk, but I think there is more to prayer than just once in the morning and before I eat. There is a power that comes with stepping into the presence of God. Prayer is direct communication with God, it’s the way we are able to cultivate that relationship with him, and it is the main way to prepare our hearts for what he wants to bring us. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, I feel myself getting set in a routine and trying to check it off my checklist. Pray in the morning, check. Read my bible, check. I am so focused on checking things off, that I miss what God wants to teach and reveal to me for that day. I meet with my dad each week and we started talking about this very idea. It was interesting to see that he felt the same way, that prayer has become a routine, when it should be a necessity to living life! That’s what I want to focus on today, how we as believers need to reclaim the power of prayer, because it will change and shape our life for greater things to come.

Continue reading

What Defines You?

I hope you have been able to stay warm this past weekend if you were like me and caught up in a crazy snow storm. This past weekend I had a lot of free time on my hands, the cabin fever was strong with me. While I had time on my hands, I had to write a brief paper on social media and how I present myself for my relational communication course. It was a strange project, not the paper itself, but the idea of looking at how I present myself to the world. It was enlightening, because of the fact that it made me look introspectively, and it reminded me of things that I have learned on how I define myself. In high school, I came to the realization that I want to be who I am, not wear a mask or pretend to be someone that I’m not. From then on, in every area of my life I wanted to be me, because I have been defined by something greater. Someone greater. I have been designed by an all-powerful God, one who has given me talents, gifts, and interests that make me unique. Too often I used to waste time trying to fit in, pretending to like the things that everyone else liked, talk the way others talked, did what everyone else did. These weren’t me. When you choose to not live like everyone else, others will try to define you by your earthly achievements. I was weak because I didn’t excel in sports, I was a fool because I didn’t learn like everyone else, and I was an outcast because I wanted to truly follow Christ. These accolades, grades, and feelings of an outsider didn’t define me. Only God can define you.

Once I started living this truth, the earthly things around me began to not matter anymore. I learned to love the hobbies that gave me joy. I loved comics, movies, and writing because God designed me to think through mixed media. I learned to be vulnerable, to be open with my struggles to help those who are suffering around me in similar ways. I learned that life is so much more fun when you live knowing that only God defines you. The pressure of trying to be perfect, or fit in with everyone else fades away. It fades away because it isn’t important. I am so thankful that God defines me. The verse that spurred on this post was Psalms 139:14 which says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” What a beautiful verse. When we believe that God has made us, we know that he defines us by saying we are fearfully and wonderfully made. When looking at how I present myself through social media, I am me. I am the same person on the screen as you will meet in person, and I do that on purpose. I want to be exactly who God has made me to be, all the time, no matter what form others see me in. I want you to believe that same truth, you can be all that God made you to be, when you start believing that he is the only one who will ever define you.

Know that you are beautiful.  

God made you beautiful. Yes, guys too. The word beautiful means that something is aesthetically pleasing to the senses and has a high standard, something that is excellent. You are beautiful, because God made you. No matter what people have said to you, or how people may have treated you in the past, you are beautiful. You have a unique personality, one that is filled with strengths and weaknesses, hopes and dreams, a future that is unlike any other. I’m not saying this to make you feel like you are better than someone else, I’m saying this because you have been designed by an awe-inspiring creator. Without him we would have nothing, and he has given you so much. One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that we are not good enough, saying we are worthless, but this is the lie. You are worth everything, that’s why an all-powerful God gave his son to die for you. God did that saying that he loves you so much, that you are his beautiful creation. Our society has put a standard up for what makes someone beautiful or special, young girls hate the way they look and young boys try so hard to attain what a “real” man looks like. This breaks my heart, because God has already made you to be exactly who you are. One day when I have children of my own, I hope to tell them that they are so special. One day I will tell my daughter that she is beautiful just the way she is. One day I will tell my son that a “real” man is one that follows God with everything inside of him. Today I am telling you the same. You are beautiful because God has made you, and you must believe that he is the only one that defines you.

Strive towards what is good.

Once you know that God has designed you, you must strive towards what is beneficial to your life. None of us would knowingly drink poison, so why is it that we make decisions that could harm us? We do this on a daily basis, it is the sad truth. God wants to be with you in everything, yet we choose to try and live life on our own strength. Time and time again we fail and get frustrated as to why God would let this happen, the truth is, we are not coming to God first. When God isn’t first, we lose sight of what is important. We let the small things slide. We hang around those people that really are terrible influences, we waste time with things that aren’t important, and sometimes we let our eyes fall into places they should never be. So we need to make a choice, will we believe that God defines us, or make compromises that only satisfies our flesh for a short time. I hope you choose to live the way that God made you to be. When you live that way, you spend time with people that push you to be better, we use our time wisely, and we focus our eyes towards heaven. It’s not big things, it’s the decisions to be wise. Finding community at your church, spending time in the word and in prayer, keeping your eyes guarded from the computer screen or that underwear commercial that comes on the TV. Strive towards what is good, because God has defined you to be a child of the most high.

Don’t define others.

We can forget this quickly. We start living without a mask and live the way God designed you to be, but when we see others, we are quick to judge. We need to live by the golden rule, yes that one. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you’ve ever experienced a hurtful word spoken about you, or had a rumor started about you, it is devastating. It hurts because people judge you for living the way God wants you to live, and that means that you seem weird to others. Why then would we do the same? It seems so simple, but it’s the truth. Only God defines you, and only God defines the people around you. So don’t gossip, don’t speak words that will only destroy the spirit of people around you, instead, speak life. Build others up, tell them the truth that you have found, show them that only God defines them. Come to them with love when you see they are not living the way scriptures say, and before that, make sure your life lines up with scripture. Don’t define others, because only God can define them.

8ec1ab_3fcc45ffa7234901b24c3b48f0bca126

How do you live your life? Do you try to fit in and let the people around you define who you are, or do you choose to believe that only God can define you? God has made you. All of your talents and quirks, he has made you to be exactly who you are. I love that verse in Psalms. There was a company that sells a T-shirt with the words, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” on it. I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a young girl, must have been around 7 years old, wearing the shirt. I love that. I think we should all be like that. Proud of who we are because we have been fearfully and wonderfully made. I hope my children one day know that truth and hold it that close to their own live. You were made by the same God that created the universe, the beauty and wonder that surrounds us, that same God, created you. Not by accident or by chance, God designed you and made you. God is the only one that can define you. So live knowing that you are beautiful, strive towards what is good, and don’t define others. God loved you, made you, and gave everything to save you.

God is the only one that will ever define you.

-Joshua Thomas