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Blessings Or Curses? It's Up To You

Living in Branson, Missouri and having worked in different theaters and restaurants has given me a unique opportunity to meet a wide range of people, from celebrities to tourists, old and young. In all cases I have noticed one thing: most, regardless of how rich or poor, famous or ordinary, are unhappy, and some of the most unhappy people I know are the ones from my generation.

Even though I am only 19 years old, I am no stranger to problems, but I have something most of my friends and acquaintances don't. I have Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and I have a family who loves me, encourages me and is supportive of me - no matter what.

I know when I tell those I know about my dad, mom and brothers, they have a hard time believing me because their families are not like that. A lot of my friend's parents are either divorced or one of them has died and the other one is too busy for them. Some of them don't even live with or have anything to do with their families. Most have told me they either don't get along with their families for whatever reason, or they feel like they have never had any love from them so they look for it from a girlfriend or boyfriend.

I can't turn time back and do anything about their past problems but I do know the answer for now. The love of God never fails and is available to all who would ask for it. I see everyone running around trying to fill that empty spot with sex or drugs or their friends, but none of those things will ever work.

My brothers are a good example of what the love of God and family can do.  One brother is 17 and my other brother is almost 16. Like me, they have known about the Lord all their lives and when they were old enough to understand, they also accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That didn't stop them from going through the same kinds of problems all teenagers seem to go through, but they did have someone to help them. They didn't need to get involved in all the junk the other kids were into because the Lord had a better way.

It's not so much that the problems don't exist anymore but when Jesus is Lord of your life, He gives you the strength and wisdom to fight the devil and do what is right. We are also blessed to have parents who love us and are always there to encourage us.

Both my brothers and I know that if we ever had a problem or even if we got into some kind of trouble - no matter what it was - our parents would be there to help us in any way they could. There would be no words of condemnation, only love, compassion, and concern for our well-being. We've never been afraid to tell our parents anything because we know they love us. It is the love of God that flows through our entire family.

Let me share with you how God can and will bless those who follow Him. Like I said, I'm 19 years old. I am vice-president of our ministry. I have an excellent job and I am also a firefighter with the local Fire Department. I have a brand new truck that I paid cash for. My brother has a 4 x 4 truck that is paid for and my other brother is looking for the vehicle he wants, which will also be paid for. We have all of the computers, stereo equipment, TV's, VCR's, etc. any kid could ever hope to have and never lack for food, clothing, or any of the other necessities of life. My folks are not by any means rich but we, as a family, spend a lot of time in prayer together. It is truly the blessings of the Lord that we have what we do.

I don't care what the world has to offer you - nothing can compare with what Jesus has for those who have Him as their Lord and Savior.

You know, a popular thing now days is the "W.W.J.D." stuff. (For those who don't know, W.W.J.D stands for What Would Jesus Do?) Everybody is wearing something with that on it or has the bumper sticker or key ring but unless you really know Him, you won't know what He would do, and it is meaningless. Only if you really know Him will you know what He wants you to be doing. You can't just wear a wrist band or a T-shirt and be right with God. You really need to go before Him, confess that you are a sinner, repent, and ask Him to be Lord of your life. If you will do that seriously, then He will be able to bless your life like He blesses ours.

It doesn't take much to be a follower, to get involved in all the activities your friends are involved in - sex, drugs, drinking, stealing, or just causing trouble. Anyone can cuss and swear and try to sound like a big-shot, but when you're all alone, just you and yourself, you know better. That hurt, that anger, that bitterness you feel, that empty spot you try so hard to fill, all the rebellion and hatred - none of it goes away by following your friends into trouble. That only makes things worse. After it's all over, you still feel the same. The only thing that can change it all is the love of Christ. The only one who can make that decision is you. It takes someone special to be a leader. Do you have it in you?

You know, if you think about it, love, (I mean the kind of love that comes from God - the only true love,) takes away all need for trying to gain acceptance through giving in to peer pressure or following the crowd. If your friends want you to get involved in things that can only get you in trouble, they aren't really your friends. Ask yourself why you do what you do. Are you following the crowd or making your own way? Are you brave enough to be different, to lead?

Scripture says, "See, I have set before you this day life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life..." Joshua 24:15. Jesus offers you life, abundant life, and all you have to do is accept Him as your Lord and Savior. I can tell you from personal experience there is no real life outside Christ, anything else is only a very poor imitation. Real love, real joy, real peace lies only in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Think about it - then DO something about it!

Please feel free to contact us with any questions about this article.

 
Everyone must die sometime.
"...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment..." Hebrews 9:27

 
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