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Designed to meet the needs of today's grads, this devotional contains 180 one-page readings for those entering new territory and finding their own way through life. God's Graduate: Continuing Education for Everyday Life covers topics such as integrity, faith, serving, success and failure, work, the world, forgiveness, and prayer-challenges graduates will face daily. Each reading ends with a "Continuing Education" section, relating a scripture verse to the topic presented. In a world full of mixed messages, this ...
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Designed to meet the needs of today's grads, this devotional contains 180 one-page readings for those entering new territory and finding their own way through life. God's Graduate: Continuing Education for Everyday Life covers topics such as integrity, faith, serving, success and failure, work, the world, forgiveness, and prayer-challenges graduates will face daily. Each reading ends with a "Continuing Education" section, relating a scripture verse to the topic presented. In a world full of mixed messages, this invaluable, inspirational resource is one no grad should be without.
The "impossible can always be broken down into possibilities." Is there anything in your life that feels "impossible" today? If there is, then the trick is to try taking another approach. What if you take that word and break it into "im" and "possible" and take a little leap and go to "I'm possible"? With you in the picture, taking the obstacles and moving them one by one into manageable pieces, things change. You're the catalyst, the possibility mover and shaker, the one who makes a difference.
Norman Vincent Peale was totally a possibility thinker. He said it's always good to "become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities-always see them, for they're always there."
It's possible that this could be a great day made just for you!
[Jesus told them,] "I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." Matthew 17:20
When Skies Are Gray
Whether we're talking about sunshine and rain or snow and ice, our attitude is what really determines the weather. When the weather of your life turns gray, check to see if there's any sunshine left in your attitude.
A. A. Milne put these words into Eeyore's mouth:
"It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily. "So it is." "And it's freezing." "Is it?" "Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately."
And James Whitcomb Riley put it yet another way:
It is no use to grumble and complain; It's just as cheap and easy to rejoice; When God sorts out the weather and sends rain- Why, rain's my choice.
What's your choice today? It's all a matter of attitude!
When the clouds are heavy, the rains come down. When a tree falls, whether south or north, there it lies. If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. Ecclesiastes 11:3-4
Here I Am; There You Go!
You've been around long enough now to observe that there are people who always seem to command attention when they enter a room. Sometimes they do it so quickly that you don't even realize you've been dismissed as they take over. Frederick Collins said, "There are two types of people-those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are.'"
On graduation day, it's all about you, and it's okay to say, "Well, here I am." But most of the time, it's better to adopt an attitude of humility. Jesus even told the teachers of His day that those who exalted themselves would be brought down and those who humbled themselves would be exalted. It seems the best way to be the greatest is to be the best servant.
As you walk through the world today, create a space for everyone you meet so they can shine with you.
When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor. James 4:10
Learning from experience is a lifelong pursuit without a graduation. No doubt you'll earn a Ph.D. before you're done, and sometimes you'll choose the courses to take and sometimes you won't. What kind of student will you be?
Students who remain at the top of the class are usually those who take any experience offered them and find a positive outcome to guide them in a future course of similar events. Since you've been there before, you feel more prepared for making choices the next time around.
What do you do when life hands you an experience that doesn't seem to have had a textbook prerequisite? What if you weren't prepared for it in any way? How you respond to the events of your life is as important, if not more so, than the events themselves.
The wisest students always know where to turn when life blindsides them. They know that they can rely on the Source, the Master Teacher, the Creator to see them through. Don't forget to raise your hand; in fact, raise both of your hands and thank God for being with you every day.
Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22
BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS
Graduation: Endings and Beginnings
The experience of a graduation is a two-edged sword. On one hand, you're thrilled to be finished with the hard work, the study, the papers, and the homework. On the other hand, a tremendous change is taking place. Classroom buddies you've come to associate with learning a particular subject will move out of your life. Teachers whom you've finally grown to understand will get new students. Moments you've shared with friends and times you've prayed to make it through to the finish line will all add up to what has become the process of your education.
The ending is the beginning. This chapter of your schooling may well be over, but the education of life has just begun. It will seek not only your mind but also your heart and your spirit. It will ask you to make choices you've never even considered before. It will force you to discover where the old you ends and the new you begins. This education will require you to remain grounded in your faith, so hold on to your mortarboard, because the ride will be picking up speed from here.
For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. Philippians 4:13
The Starting Point
Starting something new is exciting! You create a dream for what's in front of you. You create yourself in a new way, discarding things that you know didn't work for you before, and trying new directions.
Every dream has a starting point, and it's up to you to decide not only when to start but also where to start and even how to start again if need be. What you may experience is that there was no straight line to get you from the starting point to your dream. What might be there is a yellow brick road, a road to Damascus, a wilderness path, or a Red Sea to cross.
Once you and God have set your compass point, let Him guide your steps and help you over, around, and through the seeming obstacles. Sometimes it will seem like starting over. Maybe it is, or maybe you'll just be shifting gears on the focus so you hit your target more directly.
Let the beginning be exciting! Let the journey build your character, your endurance, and your ability to receive the dream set before you. It's always a good day to get started.
We ... rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:3-5 NIV
There's a Time for Everything
The old cliché that says, "Timing is everything," contains a certain measure of truth. You may have wished for graduation day to come a lot sooner, or you may be slightly dreading the moment that a diploma is placed in your hand. With that diploma comes the expectation of those around you that now you will be even more responsible.
God works according to His timing and will challenge you to be wise in the things you do each day. You live in a world that will demand your time, and unlike some resources, you'll find time is not renewable. In fact, the reality is, you don't even know how much time you will get to spend. This time of graduation is quickly becoming your yesterday. Your new goals are your tomorrow. Today is the treasured moment you have to live. What will you do with your time today-for God, for others, and for yourself? Let this be a guiding question as you begin each day.
There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to rebuild. Ecclesiastes 3:1-3
Hats Off to You!
Graduation caps, those square black boards with tassels-that Rarely fit anyone's head with ease-are the standard of most official ceremonies. They are a "different" kind of hat, and from now on, you're going to be wearing a lot of different hats. You may not particularly like the shape of this hat, or its color, or the way it looks on you, but that doesn't matter in the long run. What matters is what it represents, and what it stands for makes every wearer beautiful.
As you go out into the world and try on new hats and new ideas and new directions, it will be important for you to know what you stand for. You will have to answer the question Joshua threw out to his people centuries ago when he asked if they would choose today to serve the Lord. The world will ask you the same question. As Joshua said, "If you don't want to serve the Lord, you must choose for yourselves today whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15 NCV).
May you continue to serve the Lord no matter what hat you wear or where life takes you. Hats off to you as you begin the journey anew.
"As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15
Get Ready, Get Set, Be Still!
Now that you're all fired up to get out there and begin your new life adventure, take a moment to stop and look around. See where you are and how far you've come in this short time. Think about where you want to go and know that whatever your goals may be, there are a number of roads to help you get there. Quiet your dreams a moment and be still. Listen for the voice that has always been your teacher and wants your ultimate good more than anything in the world. Listen to the One who will always direct your steps.
Meister Eckhart said, "The very best and highest attainment in this life is to remain still and let God act and speak in you." As the days and years unfold before you, remember that whatever road you walk, you need to stop now and then and just wait on the Lord. At every turn, He will be there to renew your strength and guide your steps. Now, get ready, get set, and get going!
"Be silent, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world." Psalm 46:10
Back to Square One
Perhaps one reason that a graduation cap is square is because it reminds you that you're about to begin a new square on the game of life, a whole new direction on your path. In some ways, it will be square one. The good news is that it's square one on the next horizon, the next level up, the one that was once a goal to achieve. You've achieved. That means no matter where you are starting, you can achieve again. It's just a matter of believing that each step you take is carrying you closer to your dream.
Remember, you just have one real goal and that is to do a work that is pleasing to the Lord. He will go before you to lead the way, beside you to comfort you on the journey, and behind you to protect your well-being. So do as Goethe said when he wrote this great poem:
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated; Begin it and the task will be completed.
In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. Colossians 3:23-24 NCV
It's Only the Beginning
When you were a child, you started new things with reckless abandon. You believed that anything was possible and that you could do everything. If you wanted to paint, you just needed a brush; if you wanted to sing, you just started the music; and if you wanted to know more, you simply asked questions.
As you start out on your new journey, begin with this idea: With God all things are possible! With God you can move mountains. With God you can paint like Van Gogh, sing like Frank Sinatra, and discover the secrets of the universe.
Ivy Baker Priest once said that "the world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning." How exciting! You're at the beginning of all that is possible. Go with God and make your mark in the world!
Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible." Matthew 19:26
The Potter and the Clay
You've spent years now being molded and shaped, packed down, and started over. You've gone through a metamorphosis of all sorts as you've come to see yourself in new ways.
The next years of your life will continue the process. Those who elect to remold your thinking or redirect your purpose may change in levels of influence, but they'll all be there. It will be important for you to remember each day who the true Potter is. Isaiah 64:8 says this: "And yet, LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand."
As you go forward into the next years of your life, remember whose you really are. Remember where to go for help when you're feeling fragile and uncertain. Your Father will hold you in His hand and shape you according to His will and purpose as long as you are willing to let Him.
For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! You welcome those who cheerfully do good, who follow godly ways. Isaiah 64:4-5
The Courage to Be Yourself
Most of your life, you've trained yourself to fit in. You've been someone's child, learning the values and the culture of your own home. You've learned the rules according to how you were taught them, and you've been, to some degree, comfortable there.
As you went through school, you also learned to fit into groups that you identified with or enjoyed for a variety of reasons. You played a sport, you joined the debate team, or you were part of the student council.
Now things are different. E. E. Cummings said, "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." You're here. It's a new crossroads. You'll take with you the precious things you learned at home, or at school, or in your church group that helped to mold the person you are as you graduate, but now you're on the path of your own discovery. Now you must find your own truth. It's okay, though; God will walk with you every step of the way.
Jesus said ... "If you continue to obey my teaching, you are truly my followers. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:31-32 NCV
Be True to Yourself
Though you might recognize the wisdom in the idea of being true to yourself, you may yet wonder, Who am I? What do I really think? What is my self? If so, you're not alone, but now is a good time to begin really knowing about you.
Who you are and who you will become are your gifts to the world. The trick in this discovery is that the earlier your truth becomes known, the quicker you can get on your ordained path and manifest those gifts. James Barrie once said, "The life of every one is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another." This is your time to begin writing your story. Make it the one that you meant to write.
God already is there ahead of you waiting to help you create your very best self. Start today and get to know someone really special-you!
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children live in the truth. 3 John 4
Excerpted from God's Graduate by Karen Moore Artl Copyright © 2006 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
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