Journal, Etc.

From Casey’s Journal:

I am Casey Lee Olmsted, an 18 year old male, and. . . I want to tell you that life in Christ, for me, is the only way to escape death on Earth. I would like to start out by explaining what it’s like to be Dead on earth. By death, I don’t mean it literally. I mean it by over-indulging in things of this world, for example drugs, sex, sloth, and trying to avoid the Truth. . .

Unfortunately, things don’t happen right when we want. So it’s easy to choose life at first, then drift into death when we don’t get immediate results. But by choosing delayed gratification, instead of ME NOW! ME! ME! ME! your wait will be well worth it. . . .

Keep a humble heart so you don’t have to be humbled. Proverbs 29:23. “Pride ends in humiliation while humility brings honor.” A lot of people have it backwards. Some think to admit your faults makes you weak. They couldn’t be more wrong! Admitting our faults brings us up!  . . .

What if the Prodigal Son stayed proud? He would have nothing . You can see from this story, a son drifted away from his father and drifted into himself. What did that get him in the end? It got him a little instant gratification. That is an example of death on earth. Emptiness. How did he return to life? Humbling himself.

Forgiveness isn’t something to rely on so we will have a “clean slate.” It’s God’s gift to people so we can strive for perfection. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need forgiveness. We’re human, far from perfect! It’s okay to mess up, but it’s messed up to keep making the same mistakes. . . . Let’s move on, learn from our mistakes, do our best not to make them again.

May God be with us, in everything we do. May we accept his advice, grace, and prosperity, and share it with everyone, especially those in need. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

God for everyone, or no one at all

There is a lot of debate about religions. Jews say the Messiah is still to come. Christians say that the Messiah is Jesus the Son of God. And Islam teaches that the Messiah is Jesus, a man and prophet. With these divers ideas about God, there come also a lot of similarities.

            Paul, writer of most of the New Testament, was preaching to the Gentiles (not Jews). In Romans 3:29-30 he asked, “After all, God is not the God of the Jews only, is he? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There in only one God and there is only one way of being accepted by Him.” When I read that I want to ask, After all, God is not the God of Christians only, is he? Isn’t he also the God of the Muslims? I think that we could say it for any group of people or religion, God is the God of those people. How are we accepted by God? By prayer and supplication. People teach the same message Jesus taught and might not even recognize it. For example, my mom (who is not a Christian) was asking me what I wanted for my graduation present. I told her than since she’s been giving me money, because at the time I was unable to work on account of my broken hand, that that was enough. Her reply was, “You are going to pay me that money back, that’s hardly a gift.” That is almost word for word one of Jesus’ teachings. He said along the lines of “Anyone can loan money when you know you’re going to get paid back, even the Pharisees could do that, but who can give without return. God’s message can be found everywhere there is justice, love, forgiveness, mercy and standing up for those in need.

            God is definitely most merciful and most understanding. Different religions have different ways of getting forgiveness. But being human and made enmity to God we must be on his merciful side. I sure wouldn’t want to be on his wrathful side. Timothy 2.11-13 “If we die with him, we also live with him. If we endure hardship, we will reign with him. If we deny him, he will deny us. If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” God cannot deny himself, but he can humble himself. Romans 11:5-6, “It is the same today, for not all Jews have turned away from God. A few are being saved as a result of God’s kindness in choosing them. And if they are saved by God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s wonderful kindness would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. So you see, despite the religion God’s salvation is a gift undeserved. Religion is guidelines and a way to submit to God so you don’t live your live, because that’s when things get messy. Living for God is a life to live for the people. Yes, religions are good, but God is greater. Religion is just a little speck of what God is like. But that speck is all we need from such a great God.

From Casey's High School Portfolio:

This last weekend I went of a trip with the church, which was different than what I expected. It was a camp with people all over Kentucky, younger than I was. There were six people from our church, 2 adults, 3 kids, and me. Two of those kids were girls and the boy’s name was Robert.

When we first got there we got our stuff in the cabins and soon it was time to eat. Robert and the kids from other churches staying in our cabin didn’t get along. I think part of the reason was that he was hyper and people got impatient with him. He stayed around me like white on rice. At times I got him to do stuff with kids closer to his age.

One day Robert asked if I would walk to the lake with him, and I did. While we were walking he was talking like an auctioneer and I took in maybe half of what he said. There was this big rock that we climbed on to throw rocks into the river. He threw everything he could as fast as he could. I don’t know where he got the energy. I threw one and my sunglasses fell, and a lens fell in the rocks below. We were looking from the rocks we were sitting on and couldn’t see it. A couple minutes later I decided to go down and look, and still couldn’t find the lens. I felt a presence tell me to pick up this certain rock. I was skeptical of whether it was from God or just a hunch. I went ahead and picked up the rock anyway and found that lens. Then I thought to myself, no it was probably just a coincidence that I picked up the right rock. Then I yelled to Robert that I found the lens and he said, “Praise the Lord!” I was stunned and replied, “Praise the Lord.”

That is probably the most valuable lesson I learned at camp, and I learned a lot from it. I learned three valuable things. One, that to praise someone else is a great reward, if not for yourself, then for the person receiving praise. Also, that when I think I feel a message God is sending me, I always question whether that was Him or not. This isn’t completely bad because we do sense things that may seem like Him, or try to make us believe it’s Him and it isn’t. But then again, why question all the time? The last learning I received was when Robert said “Praise the Lord.” Whether it was Him or not isn’t the point. The point is to give praise. We cannot see Him, and that makes up faith.

The camp only lasted two days and ironically I wouldn’t have minded to stay longer. When I first got there I wasn’t really into the idea of a younger kids camp, but I learned a great lesson from a younger person, that there’s nothing wrong with giving praise. Not only did I not want to leave, but I want to get a job there this summer. I would like to end with saying this, give anyone a chance and they can help you more than you realize.