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Congratulations Graduates

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7 ESV)

Tis the season for graduations. Amazing times we live in as you can graduate from seminary, college or universities, high school, and even kindergarten. Students are recognized as achieving success with pomp and circumstance. For those who might not understand this meaning it comes from a highly formal celebration.

I still remember graduating from the 8th grade in the 20th century, being one of eight graduates and giving a speech. I was one of two students selected and with my grandmothers help, I wrote out “Climbing the ladder of success.” I was quite nervous in front of the school board, the principal and facility, parents, students and other community members delivering that speech. Little did I realize that my chosen career or “calling” would lead me into public speaking several times each week.

Graduation is a promotion, a time of celebration, and a time of uncertainty. You have attained a goal, accomplished your objective and reached the peak of attainment. Sometimes there is a letdown. What is next? Will I find a job? Will I be able to pay off the debt of school? Anxiety and doubt set in. Even as you are successful in finishing the requirements of the degree program, you may wonder, “Do I have what it takes to thrive at the next level?”

Belief in your accomplishments comes from experience. Moving from academia to the working world is not a great leap. Instead, it is a matter of applying your education to life experiences. Eighty percent of higher education comes beyond the classroom. Choices you make, convictions that you establish, and abilities that you develop will lead you into relationships that will build or breakdown your values.

We hear sermons sharing how much God loves us and we tend convince ourselves of his love. And yet, another element of the gospel is to develop a healthy fear of God. To revere and to honor him by surrendering to his will. To recognize that he has plans for our lives and wants us to trust in his ability to direct and guide us best.

Our son, Thaddeus, is a 2019 graduate with a degree in Christian Studies from the School of Theology at Grand Canyon University. He is going into youth ministry. He has some wonderful gifts to share. Yet, I can tell that he is anxious about wanting to take the best step forward in pleasing God. My prayer for him and the rest of the Class of 2019 is this:

Prayer: Lord God direct each one of your children in the way, and the truth, and the life that you have for them. Help us as family and friends to encourage and support each one as they pursue the path that you have for them. Keep them in the palm of your righteous hand. Thank you for loving each one uniquely and gifting them in your glorious plan. Amen.

James Conley

ABCRM Western Slope Ministry & Mission Facilitator

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