The Copts of Egypt – Ordinary People With Extraordinary Courage

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It was so hard to react yet again after hearing of another senseless killing of an innocent man of God. A man that was appointed to guide others toward Christ and Christianity. I felt true sadness, but also helplessness, empathetic but powerless , and momentarily distraught, but able to continue on with my day and do what I had to do. It’s occurring so often now that we hear about the persecution here in the States, indicating more copts being killed for absolutely nothing. Sometimes it hits us harder than the time before, especially if pictures of lifeless children are being shared on social media. Other times we feel that moment of sadness, as we should as fellow copts, but quickly move on because really what can we do besides pray for them and for the comfort of their families. That is in no way an underestimation of prayer as prayer really moves the Hand of the one that manages the whole universe as St. Pope Kyrillos VI once said. It’s so hard to accept that all we can do as we see our brothers and sisters suffer is give our condolences and prayers but not our physical help.

They’re fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, and friends and acquaintances that push me to do better. Supposedly living in fear of dying everyday as they walk the streets of Egypt, but actually living in absolute faith and trust in God are the people I’m speaking of. Their ability to be so meticulous in their faith by seeking the word of God, prayer, communion, and fellowship is what makes me feel so guilty in my own walk with God. I have the freedom to go to church and pray without fear, serve God without distress, and partake in His Body and Blood in peace. These are the things the Copts of Egypt pray for that I take for granted. It is because of events like these that the Copts of Egypt stand out to the world as ordinary people with extraordinary courage. They guide the Copts on the other side of the world to attempt to contain absolute faith and comfort in God through their actions and endurance through tragedies.

It’s difficult not to be moved by the faithfulness of the Copts of Egypt. During a time like this it is easy to drift away from God, but they have not failed in that aspect. Their strength and perseverance to pray harder and sing louder to God after events like these is admirable and can no longer be something we don’t recognize. They really are what it means to be a Christian and are our example. You raise your children to stand in church and in faith with firmness and stability and that is exactly what we see from the other side of the world. It is truly valuable to see the love you share for one another but more importantly the love you have for God.

Father Samaan Shehata’s gruesome murder in the streets of Cairo was just another reminder of what it’s like to be living in a world that disagrees with you. A world that doesn’t see the faith that you see and a world that doesn’t believe in the amazing God that you believe in. Like always though, our faith will continue to grow following this incident because we know that God is close to those who need Him most and the world must know that we need Him now more than we did yesterday and the day before that. There will never be a situation that God cannot get us through and that is excellently portrayed by the Copts of Egypt. It was portrayed after the church bombings and massacres (all of them), after the martyrdom of the 21 Christians in Libya, and surely after the Minya bus shooting that took the lives of innocent individuals on their way to the monastery. This was not the first event that tested their faith and it will definitely not be the last but as long as we know that God is for us, it does not matter who is against us. With their example, our faith will continue to flourish and we will continue to stand together in solidarity.

Dear Copts of Egypt,

Thank you for the daily motivation you give to us on the other side of the world. Thank you for being so strong in your faith even with all that you endure. Thank you for displaying to us what a true walk with God should look like and always pushing us to do better. Thank you for never complaining and showing us what being accepting of your situation looks like. Thank you for showing us how to fight back evil, with prayer and with peace. Thank you for allowing us to see God through you and your little children on a day that the evils of the world are trying so hard to take over. Most of all thank you for being ordinary people with extraordinary courage.

Please keep us in your prayers.





My Own VERY VERY Loud Thought

It’s been so long. Definitely longer than it should be. I feel so bad for it and its truly inexcusable. Its been so long since i opened up and read and its been so long since i got on my knees and spoke. Sometimes it feels like I’m taking Him for granted. I come and go as i please not considering the fact the He misses me way more than i miss Him. Is He upset? Never! Am i forgiven? Yes! But i think sometimes our (my) human instinct is that since we know God is forgiving and we can reach Him at any time we please, we put it off. Days, weeks, months, even years we sometimes go without picking up the Bible or praying. It’s not okay!

If we look at our relationship with God the same way we look at our relationships with family, friends or significant others, we must consider the fact that the strength of the relationship depends on the effort back and forth. Man and wife don’t typically go days, weeks, or months without speaking a word to each other. This puts the relationship in shambles. We know that God is consistently putting maximum effort in His relationship with us so it is certain that we are the lacking variable. We are the ones not reciprocating the effort back to Him. What does this result in? A failed relationship. Lucky for us God doesn’t see it that way. He will not let us or our relationship with Him fail and whenever we come back, He’s always there. But is it fair? Is it fair to go through those moments of laziness or lack of interest in our spiritual life?

I don’t get it sometimes because ill go through these phases where i know I’m lacking HARD on what i should be doing to maintain my relationship with Him but i don’t do anything about it. I am conscious of the fact that i did not read my Bible today or didn’t speak to Him but just kind of move on and hope that i get to it eventually.  Why am i like this? I have no idea! It’s so frustrating to know that I KNOW what i’m doing is wrong but not do anything about it. I think i may be just writing this to tell myself that i am totally a fool and maybe i’ll find some motivation to get back into it by writing it out in words.

Its truly a feeling that i don’t know how to exactly describe when i want to so badly do the right things or go down the right path but can’t. It may be that i can’t describe it because it makes no sense. How can i want to do the right thing, i.e read my Bible and daily prayer, but just not do it. This is the first time that i am disconnected from service, fellowship, and spiritual guidance and maybe that’s why this is occurring. Maybe i need this to realize how far i actually was from God and a spiritual life. It may be the ultimate test to be taken away from all the resources i’ve ever known and still try and maintain that relationship. If this is the test, then i desperately need a tutor ASAP.

I have so many people who are near and dear to my heart and whom i truly consider like brothers. Sometimes i wish i could sit down and speak to them about this dilemma but it doesn’t seem the same being where i am. Things truly shift +/- when you’re distanced…


Privileged Doesn’t Even Begin to Describe it





Struggling families living in poverty,

Special needs children and adults,

Severely mentally ill,


Dysfunctional families,

Religiously oppressed,


Unattainable healthcare,

Incurable diseases

This is just a short list of some of the cruelest things people around you and me are going through at this moment right now. How often do we consider these things going on around us during our everyday busy lives? One maybe two things on this list we’re faced with daily whether its friends, family or just someone you hear about.

We really don’t know just how privileged we are. We go through our lives every single day wanting more and not accepting what we have. Complaining that it’s not enough or thinking about what more would be like are just a couple of the thoughts that run through our heads.

How different would our perspective be if the thoughts that went through our heads consisted of the feelings of the person who has less than me or what I can do with what I have to help others rise up, really just the person in some different shoes than mine. When we sit and think about ourselves and how we can help ourselves, we leave no room for others. I recently watched a movie about the slums of poor countries and it really had me upset. It had me upset that I can sit and plan my 3 meals for the day but the poor families of India have to scramble to at least have one meal that day. It had me upset that while I have dreams of big houses with nice amenities, that poor family in Africa has to struggle to keep those four walls held around them up and standing. It had me upset that I can shower, brush my teeth, and keep my hygiene up everyday but the poor families in Egypt have to worry about finding work that day to make money for necessities. It had me upset that going to church on the weekends is a choice if I’m feeling like it but in those poor countries it’s a privilege. It had me upset that we think we’re at war here but in other countries you cant walk in the street because an actual war is going on and people are getting murdered on every part of the street. Seriously though we don’t know just how privileged we really are.

When and why did we become those people that are so concerned with keeping ourselves happy and entertained while forgetting God and the other side of the world. The side of world that doesn’t get to eat or drink everyday or has to struggle to keep families together. What happened to simplicity and why was it completely replaced with complexity.

It’s not even a matter of giving to the less fortunate or dedicating time for community service. It’s honestly more of just realizing how lucky you are and at least attempting to be content. These days we’re complaining over the silliest things and it’s just sad. “They got my food wrong” or “my room is too small” or “my car could be nicer”. Then there’s my personal favorites like “damn why do you shop cheap” or “when are you gonna get a new one”. So not only are we not content with what we have but we also want others to feel bad for what they have. It’s so easy to tell on someone’s face when they say something but mean the complete opposite. Not even our poker faces can hide our true feelings of “more more more” or “this is simply not enough”.

Just a simple thought every single day of “I’m so lucky to be in the position that I am” can be that reminder that keeps you content. “I’m so lucky to be eating to be showering to be warm to be clothed”. Another thought of “why do I get to eat in excess and have things I don’t need when others can’t even attain the minimum survival necessities” can be helpful. Everytime we think of ourselves, we must think of the less fortunate and how lucky we are. Even Americas poor people are richer than others somewhere else in the world. We come across homeless individuals often in the US while other countries have homeless families with small children unable to survive. But still we complain that burger isn’t big enough or my mattress is too small while someone else would die for that burger your complaining about or that undersized mattress. It sure would beat that half eaten candy bar from the trash or that cardboard box to sleep on.

Some people get it and live according to what they have and what they’re capable of. Of course they want more but sitting and thinking about more won’t get you more. It’s those people that work to get more that end up getting more. Once you have more it’s most important not to forget that person that has less. We can easily enjoy life without living in excess but in simplicity and with whatever large or small things we were granted by God, it really all goes back to attitude and perspective. That’s what can set us apart. I can quote so many bible verses to back this up but I might as well quote the whole bible because in so many books and chapters and verses we’re instructed by God to not live for ourselves but for Him and others, you just have to want it. We really don’t know just how privileged we are.

“How needful the human being is of service of the spirit, in an age

where materialism, atheism, apostasy and deviant intellectual trends

prevail. How needful people are to see Christ in our lives and to

smell His sweet fragrance in us. There is, upon the Church, a critical

duty at this juncture through which the world is passing today. It is

upon her to advocate faith in hearts, to spread virtue, to bring peace

and serenity into every weary soul, so that tranquility might abound

and well-being might be plentiful. For the message of Lord Christ is

the guarantee of virtuous life for mankind: “I have come that they may

have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10);

the chaste, pure, peaceful, calm and effective life which forms good,

fruitful citizens and active members of the Church, who know how to be

ever faithful to God, their homeland and the worldwide human

community, co-operating with everyone, in a spirit of synergy,

brotherhood and selflessness.”

-Pope Kyrillos

Uncontrollable and Constant Fear of Messing up/Sinning


Let me pose a question to start off. Why are we as humans so petrified of messing up? What are the consequences? Can there be anything good that comes from messing up? All these questions are ones that have crossed my mind so often and they have made my mind wander in so many different directions.

Now let me ask…How many of us have been messing up?

I don’t mess up; I’m actually on the brink of perfection. I’m forgiven because Jesus already died for my sins.

I make mistakes but that’s what confession is for, ill just tell my father of confession about it later and it’ll be okay.

As long as I’m coming to church sometimes and taking Communion and confessing I’m on a path to heaven, right!?

Are you flabbergasted by my thoughts? Sadly if not all of them, some of these thoughts are common thought processes among our generation. What’s the problem with this? Is it my self-righteousness? Is it my misinterpretation of the Bible? Or is it my thoughts on what the correct path to heaven looks like? ALL THE ABOVE!

Let me ask again, how many of us have been messing up or sinning? Are we even allowed to sin? Romans 3:23-24 says “or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”. I don’t know if we’re “allowed” to sin but according to this verse and everything we know about Christianity, it’s inevitable. St. Paul writes the words “all have sinned” meaning that we’re not above sin. Sin will get the best of us sometimes but that’s not the point. But before I get on with what the point is let me ask another question…What is someone who is stagnant like?

Someone who is stagnant is someone who isn’t moving or someone not growing, right? A stagnant person is someone who isn’t sinning because they’re not moving. In the weirdest way possible think about it this way, if you’re not sinning how are you growing. Of course it is possible to learn a lesson from a sin but this is for those who have already committed it for whatever reason. A Holy book of instructions and a certain lifestyle can do so much as we’ve seen through the lives of some Saints among us or dead but what about us who aren’t so strong.

If you find yourself often cursing, how do you rid of it? How do you move on and take off the old man and put on the new one? Lots of instruction (the Bible, spiritual father, etc.) and hard work is how you do it.

The point I’m trying to make is sin is definitely nearly impossible to avoid but the more important part is what comes after the sin: the lesson learned. Once you’ve established that you’ve committed a terrible sin what are you going to do to make sure you don’t do it again? Do you change your habits or you environments? Do you not put yourself in the same situations that will guide down the same reckless road? It’s possible but it takes a lot of time.

Back to the question about the stagnant person and the point of that. That stagnant person I’m referring to is someone who is not learning. Of course it’s a metaphor because there is no such thing as a stagnant person who is breathing. The point is sin can be important and can also be a turning point in our lives. We’re afraid of messing up and sinning but if we use that fear and turn it into energy into a prevention program of some sort it can become beautiful. Instead of being scared to sin, why don’t we attempt to think of ways of not performing that sin that we’re so scared of. Instead of being scared to curse, why don’t you consider ways to not curse and fill your mind with that instead of filling it with constant fear.

Use your prayers to ask God for guidance and wisdom to move past that thing that’s got you sitting in fear. Use your fear as motivation to grow closer to God and build upon your relationship with Him.

Something I try to do but need to try harder on is this:

Evaluate my sin fully

Consider the pros and cons

Plan on how to forward with actions using prayer/spiritual guidance

Act on my plan

It is important to understand that you must always try your hardest to not sin or put yourself in situations that will cause you to sin but sometimes we’re overcome and it’s devastating. Just like we understand that sin is very bad, we must also understand that sin is very important. It can help us better ourselves if we allow it to using the right direction and tools. This realization and these actions are feasible and very possible; you just have to want it.

Your Identity May be More Important Than You Think


A true identity now a days is made up of a lot more than the basics. Yes, things like your height, weight, eye color, and hair length make up your identity as well as your religion, occupation, and relationship status. Then there are the things that are overlooked like your extracurricular activities: the good and the bad. The good like possibly the sports you play or your service to the church or the community. Then, unfortunately, there are the bad like your alcohol or drug use and the frequency of them.

Your identity is used often to describe you as a person in conversation. Statements like “Robert, who frequently serves at the church, is someone I would want hanging around my kids” or “Adam, who smokes a pack a day, is not allowed around my children” are the identities that I’m referring to. Unfortunately, our world has become so invested with what we look like and what we do on the outside rather than what is on the inside. This has caused so many people to leave the church or their community. Fear of judgment has increased tremendously across generations. Of course that should never be the reason you do something as escaping doesn’t solve much but that’s a different discussion. Your identity is truly so important and it’s very delicate but sometimes you don’t take care of it like you should.

When we make a decision, we forget to consider all major outcomes. One example, my direction of thought concerning a mistake like cursing “Dang! so and so heard about me swearing and now anytime anyone hears my name they’re going to associate it with cursing”. Yes, that is certainly one way to look at it. It took me a while but then I considered the situation from a different angle, a way way more important angle. What about how God identifies me? What about what God associates with my name? Are all the things that are associated with my name representations of God? It goes without saying that self-identity is essential but more often than not, we forget to consider God before we speak or act, myself included.

There are so many times I remember where I did or said something without realizing until later the extent of what just happened. I’ve partaken in things I shouldn’t have partaken in and I’ve said things I definitely shouldn’t have said and some of them have stuck to my identity and some were forgotten. I dwelled for too long as to what the repercussions of this identity were going to look like and the thoughts didn’t take me anywhere good. I was so angry that one mistake, whether it was done once or a few times, was now stuck with who I am as a person and not what I was really about or my faith in God. That was easily forgotten when my name was mentioned in peoples conversations. I later realized this actually said more about those people who weren’t so accepting because of certain characteristics concerning my identity than it did about me. We’re actually instructed by God to accept each other as it is clearly stated in Romans 15 verse 7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God”. So don’t worry about those folks who can’t get over your habits or your identities because they’re just as guilty as you are.

This is the point I’m trying to make though. You shouldn’t be so disturbed with who on earth is concerned with what you say or do but really disturbed by who in heaven is concerned with what you say or do. Yes there are earthly things that have become a part of your earthly identity but think about this. Someone will eventually find something else that’s negative to stick to your identity so that really shouldn’t be your main concern. Your main concern should be how your earthly identity is impacting your relationship with God because He is the one who matters not your friends or your friends parents who make you out to be something you know you’re not.

Change your identity for yourself and for God, don’t do it for anyone else. Change your ways, form new habits, change your environment, do something that won’t put you in the same position that keeps on taking you down that terrible road that you want to sway away from. It’s not too late for God is always waiting with wide-open arms for you. Ephesians 4:22-24 says “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness”. As it so beautifully says, take off that old man, the man that does things he shouldn’t do or says things he shouldn’t say and put on the new one, the renewed one.

We all fall daily and that’s a fact but the most important thing about falling is how you get back up and move forward. Are you person who is known (or identified) for drinking often or are you the person who is struggling to getting rid of your sin for God? Will you be that person that changes as a front for other people or a person who changes for your Father up above. There will always be a difference between someone who is sinning blindly and someone who is struggling with a sin, my spiritual father taught me that. You just have to finally BE CRITICAL OF YOURSELF and know and understand what you’re doing and perceive it to be wrong in order to move forward. In other words, your identity in Christ can be changed; you just have to want it.

Concerned With Matters Out of Your Control


Recently, an unfortunate situation occurred in which I made a decision that led to a whole bunch of other things happening that i did not expect. It was somewhat devastating to see such a domino effect occur after such a decision. Some of these dominos that I’m referring to seemed so unnecessary and uncalled for to the point of not being able to shut off my brain for a few nights because of ongoing thoughts. How could this happen, what did i do wrong, and what can i do make things better or go back to normal were all thoughts going through my head.

After later realizing that these thoughts were not going to help any potential progress, i later realized a bigger lesson moving forward: the events that took place following my decision were out of my control. How i realized this was after some seriously deep prayer and a lot of critical thought. It became clear to me that the same advice i had given those who were seeking guidance was actually the advice i needed to utilize for myself.

When things are out of your control, it may be confusing at times as to if you’ve already exhausted all you can do. For example, moving away for work or for school can be tough especially if you were really connected to your community and your hometown. With moving away comes some unfortunate circumstances like losing friends or just being disconnected from individuals you were once close to. This may occur due to lack of effort or time or just lack of interest. It’s even occurred where a disconnect with someone who was once a close friend occurred due an earlier disconnect with a mutual friend. It was literally a domino effect just by association. As sad or damaging as it is, this is one of those things I’m referring to as out of your control. So whats the point? The point is why are you worried and saddened by something that you without a doubt have no control over. It goes back to that humanistic custom that causes you to worry overtime something unknown occurs but how long should it last. Every person is different in how they deal with things but generally speaking, the Bible teaches numerous times in numerous places to let go and let God.

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This is so important to me because it draws this vivid picture that has not failed me to this day. It is essential to look at the steps of what is being instructed. Firstly, we must know before anything else that we must sincerely love God. After you’ve embarked on that journey, in which you struggle daily, you must understand that the things occurring whether they seem good or bad to the human eye are working for your benefit. When you love God and allow Him to work in your life, you’ve established that understanding that you are letting His will be done. Again, things that are out of your control like losing friends you once had are so small compared to whats really happening behind the scenes. The most overlooked step in this process though is to keep moving, keep loving and most importantly keep praying. Remaining stagnant or becoming too comfortable with where you’re at can be dangerous. There can really be a lesson in anything but you must allow yourself to see it. Things that aren’t in your control, again like disconnecting from close friends, can mean something more than what you think about. God who is in control will never put you in a situation that isn’t good for you because nothing bad comes from Him.

Something else thats really important is not allowing one thing or situation dictate your life or your progress. Yes, a loss can be unfortunate but when you blindly let that loss guide your next move that loss can be become even more damaging. A loss that is out of your control is even more beautiful because you don’t have to blame yourself, you choose to blame yourself. You allow yourself to take on all the pressure but that is a choice you don’t have to make. St. Pope Kyrillos VI says “Rest assured and do think too much about any matter. Leave it to GOD who is in control. Have you known anyone who has trusted God and was let down? Heaven forbid!” This is so beautiful because we’re clearly instructed to not put our nose where it doesn’t belong: things that are beyond us. No one who has ever trusted God was disappointed and thats because God doesn’t disappoint, simple as that. Peace of mind for things that are out of your control are attainable, you just have to want it.

Trying to Stay Relevant may be the Problem


Why people are often uneasy is something I think about frequently. A lot of things can cause you to be uneasy. Stress about school or work or familial problems can all cause you to be uneasy and that’s natural no doubt. But what about trying to be relevant? When someone truly struggles with being in the loop or “in”, is that a cause of uneasiness. Not being able to keep up with latest trends, in any case, can that make you feel uneasy or uncomfortable? Nowadays we attempt to be more important to try to fit in. And I’m not even talking about the junior high fitting in where someone tells you to “take this drink and you’ll be cool”. I’m talking about spending time or money you don’t have on things you don’t really want to please people you don’t even truly agree with. That’s what adult fitting in looks like.

Among so many youth I often observe instances where someone will go out to eat or tag along for an event, when they didn’t really intend on doing so, just because of the fear of missing out. Is that trying to stay relevant or not? This “fear of missing out” has become a real problem; I’ve even noticed it in myself. You’re afraid of missing opportunities to create memories with people who make you happy and you sometimes take extraordinary measures to make it happen even when it’s really not supposed to work out. This is a problem. This is where anxiety or other real disorders can develop. Or what about when you chime in a conversation you know is not good or not productive. I’m talking about the conversation where person a, b, and c are talking in a negative manner about person d. And you just share your thoughts on person d, knowing in the back of your mind that you don’t want to be doing this and feel bad about it right away. Why does that happen? It all goes back to trying to stay relevant. You put yourself out there even when it’s not truly what you want to do just to get a piece of that relevant pie. I can literally think of a million examples of other ways people become uneasy while attempting to make themselves relevant. But that’s not the point here. The point is where is God in all this. Yep you’re right, nowhere to be found.

Colossians 3:2 says “ Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” What does that mean? It means exactly what it says. We’re instructed to not worry about the earthly things but instead focus on the heavenly things. Why is that? Simple! The earthly things are not relevant to the big picture. Its funny how relevance works. While you’re trying to stay relevant to earthly things, you’re losing sight of what’s actually relevant: getting to meet your Father one day in heaven. That’s the big picture I’m talking about. So instead of constantly finding yourself in a state of uneasiness, consider shifting your path and take that road that leads to focusing on the heavenly. Personally I’m so tired of finding myself in that state of uneasiness I’m referring to. It’s a real struggle to change your priorities and not worry about those earthly things but I really believe that it’s part of the journey. That journey that leads you where you belong: with your Father. And just think maybe eventually when you find your way and the way to focusing on heavenly instead of earthly so much, your days of trying to stay relevant or your “fear of missing out” will be long behind you. You just have to want it.

Problems With Differentiating Between Earthly and Heavenly

Heaven and earth

Why is that when you feel the world is against you, it feels like everything is going to fail? You know those days I’m talking about when person a, b, and c are angry with you for some reason and it just ruins everything else. I don’t know about you but when I know someone is mad at me, it’s the end of the world. That feeling of coming up short on pleasing someone is literally the worst thing to me. I can’t stand knowing that I disappointed someone for whatever reason. It literally dictates every single thing after that observation; how I feel, what I do, my attitude, how I talk to others. I become so concerned and make it a mission to get to the bottom of it and fix whatever needs to be fixed. My life becomes surrounded around that thought for hours, days or sometimes even weeks until I either find a way to salvage it or gain the strength to understand it’s beyond me.

Now let me ask you why doesn’t the same thing happen when I disappoint God. With certainty I know that I do something hurtful towards God, intentional or unintentional, way more often than I hurt or disappoint others. So why do I not make it my life mission to fix the problem I created with God like I make it my life mission to fix the problem I created with a friend or acquaintance or even relative. Does God not deserve my maximum attention and focus more than anyone or anything? This realization disappointed me so much. To know that I worry way more about the earthly problem I create rather than the heavenly problems I create drives me insane. Sometimes I actually put God second to people down here without even realizing it. So what if someone is upset at you. If you’re doing what you can to fix an earthly problem then leave it at that. Why concern yourself with something you can no longer control. You can’t control how someone feels about you. But with God it’s different. God will always love you and that will never change but there’s more. Why are you not concerned with changing that sin that you know upsets God like your concerned with fixing friendships. Why are not concerned with giving time to God, time that He deserves, like you give time to your friends. As I’m writing this I’m literally shaking my head at my own self. It’s so sad that I even understand the importance of what needs to change and I’m not making more of an effort to actually change it.

The book of St Matthew says in chapter 22 verses 37 and 38 “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” How are we (I) fulfilling that commandment by not even doing so much as putting Him first? How do we truly love God with all our heart, mind and soul when we’re more concerned with fixing the earthly problems that we become so invested in? How do we (I) truly love God with all our mind heart and soul when talking to or hanging out with my friends is the main focus for the day. No, truly loving God with all your heart, mind and soul is seeking Him first thing when I wake up and last thing before I go to bed, not always being successful but at least making a sincere effort to. Truly loving God with all your heart, mind, and soul is seeking Him throughout your day whether it’s talking to Him about your problems or whether it’s finding a way to serve His people and most importantly sincerely making an effort to improving those things your struggling with everyday. Things such as trying to quit cursing or saying or doing things you know are immoral. That there is truly loving God with all your heart, mind and Soul.

God deserves my attention and focus way more than these silly and petty problems do down here. We (I) become so concerned with what people think of us and try so hard to be the best and look the best for other people but what about God. Why do we not try this hard for him? I can think of a million things throughout the day that can change for you to shift your priorities from earthly to heavenly but the question is do you want to shift it. Are you going to continue making things like what your friends think of you more important than what God thinks of you. Think about it…you already know that no one loves you more than God and that’s a fact. So why is the love not reciprocated?

For the longest time I’ve been concerned with this issue where I really cared about what people thought that I totally forgot to care about what God thought. I became a people pleaser that I forgot to become a God pleaser. I did stuff for people and thought I was doing stuff for God simultaneously but it wasn’t completely the case. You can serve His people but you have to remember why you’re doing it. You’re not doing it for the recognition from your friends or from your elders; you’re doing it for God. That’s so easily forgotten and it’s sad. Recognition is so irrelevant compared to the big picture. Changing that perspective on the matter is doable; you just have to want it.

Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord and He heard me. And He delivered me from all my fears”

Psalm 34-4

What more do we have to see for us to believe? What more do we have to hear for us to believe? We’re commanded more often than not to let go and let God so what more do we have to see for us to believe?

“I sought the Lord”. Have you sought the Lord? Seeking the Lord is not simply speaking to him. Seeking the Lord is much more than that. Seeking the Lord requires patience and trust. Seeking the Lord requires deep hope and complete faith. The one who seeks the Lord is the one who quits everything for a moment and speaks to Him and just Him. The one who seeks the Lord spills out his heart and awaits a response. Though he awaits a response not holding His breath until it comes signifying His patience with us. Seeking the Lord is believing that everything is in His time, the right time. His time can be today, tomorrow or in 10 years but His time is the right time. If you seek the Lord you accept that. If you seek the Lord you speak to Him letting him know you need Him much more than you ever thought. Have you sought the Lord?

“And He heard me”. He heard you! Yes, He heard you! When you speak to Him, he hears you. When does he hear you? When you speak to Him! Have you talked to him today? Did you talk to him yesterday? Did you talk to him when you didn’t know where to go for help? When did you talk to Him last? He misses your voice. He wants you to talk to him and He will hear you. Leave the world for just a moment and speak to Him and He will hear you. He heard you! Yes, He heard you!

“And He delivered me from all my fears” After you’ve sought out to Him and He hears you, what more do you have to fear? If you truly believe that He has your best interest then what is missing? Why are you still fearful? It’s innate to worry of course, it’s human nature. If you have to, worry for a little time but when it’s prolonged its foolishness. Worrying for a prolonged time means you’re not really trusting your relationship with Him. If you’ve done all you can and have genuinely called out to God, the next step is to let go and wait on Him. Again it may not come how you want it or when you want it but it’ll come. Fear and worry are natural but they come from a place that lacks trust. If you trust in God and in your relationship with Him then fear and worry should be cancelled out sooner than later.

Fear is so weird in my opinion. We fear what we do not know but if we “knew”, fear wouldn’t exist and so many other things after that would change. Imagine if you knew you were going to ace your midterm next week. How many things would be different leading up to that? Would you even need God? Would you even call upon Him? Or even better, imagine you knew when you were going to die. Things would be so different it almost scares me just thinking about it. Would you even sincerely attempt at a relationship with God until its close to your time to go? I think that’s beauty of not knowing, always having to be ready but that’s a different topic.

Fear is a concept we created through unknowns but one thing is for sure, “nothing is unknown to a known God” and that’s why it’s so hard to grasp this concept of fear.

Everyday mothers and fathers are losing sons and daughters and sons and daughters are losing mothers and fathers. At the same time everyday you hear of person X who can’t get out of their slump because of the family death they faced. What are they missing? That question is hard to fully answer but a good place to start is they’re probably missing a sincere call onto God. They may be missing opportunities to sincerely pray for ease of mind rather than sitting and worrying and thinking about the sadness and the unknowns.

It’s weird; I didn’t really realize how alive clinical depression was among my community until recently. I see it almost everyday now, small cases, big cases and extreme cases. It’s really sad and I genuinely wish I had the cure for depression so people can be happy again but then what. While trying to be as sensitive as possible, I ponder on the question of how many of these depressed peoples lives would be different or significantly less if their spiritual life and/or relationship with God was different. My feeble mind does not know the right answer for sure but all I know is you can endure anything with the right tools. The most essential tool is obviously God. You can endure literally anything as long as you genuinely have God by your side and I don’t believe that will ever change.

Depression is really sad and I pray that all who are suffering find a way to help themselves through God. Mental health altogether is a serious issue and it hasn’t even been taken seriously until recently. I truly believe that uneasiness of the mind, depression or other mental health issues, starts with trying to make yourself relevant. If you genuinely lived for God rather than earthly things, I believe that we’d see a significant decrease in this mental health epidemic. Of course this is assuming that every single person turns to God, which would be beautiful. If you notice I keep using the word genuinely because I think that’s an essential component of a successful and fruitful part of a relationship with God. Authentic or real attempts to talk to God and call upon Him are what make it real and beautiful.

We’re honestly challenged every single day, every single minute to call onto God when we’re worried or anxious but sometimes we don’t use those opportunities. If for every time you felt that ounce of anxiety or uneasiness in any way, you picked up the Bible and read a verse or chapter or even just talked to God, there has to be some difference that occurs. If that weren’t the case then we wouldn’t be seeing the beauty of the Bible and of God every single day. If prayers and Bible readings weren’t difference makers then we wouldn’t be witnessing people who are willing to die for God every single day. We wouldn’t be witnessing modern day saints talking about their amazing relationships with past saints or even God Himself.

The answer to our problems is literally right in front of us and accessible and it’s so frustrating. It’s so frustrating that we’re not utilizing it. It’s so frustrating that I’m writing about it and I’m not utilizing as much as I can/should be. Finding and utilizing the answers to our problems is doable, you just have to want it.

NEW CHALLENGE (for myself and whoever wants to join): Read the Bible or talk to God at least once a day. If you’re too tired at night, at least talk to Him. And if you can’t get yourself to talk to Him for any reason, open the Bible and read.