when God was helping Elijah escape from Ahab and Jezebel, God told Elijah to go out to the mountain and wait for the Lord to pass by. Elijah searched for God in the strong winds that were so powerful that they were crushing rocks, but God wasn't in the wind. Elijah looked for God in an earthquake, but God was not there. He looked in the fire, but still, God was not there. God manifested himself to Elijah in a tiny whispering sound (cf. 1 Kings 19:11-13).
God won't always give you clear and tangible signs of his presence. God is everywhere. When you feel God's air blowing on your face, drink his water, play football on his grass, drive on his earth, walk through his forests, or do anything on his earth, remember that God's fingerprint is on it. But even more than that, us human beings not only have his fingerprint, but are made in God's very image and likeness and he breathed his breath into us (Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:7).
brothers and sisters, the next time you look at someone that you don't particularly like, remember that you are staring down the face of God. we're not necessarily called to like everybody we meet, but we are called to even be able to recognize our distaste for others, love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44).
brothers, the next time you look at any girl and think to yourself yo, she's so fine!, slow down, because that's not just a girl; that's one of our sisters. as a brother, it is our duty to protect her from harm, to provide any assistance that she may need, and to pastor her towards God. it is also our duty to protect our own minds from the devil's temptation to look at her lustfully, to provide ourselves with the knowledge on how to treat sisters, and to pastor ourselves to be men "after God's own heart."
our bodies are sacred. (that's a whole different book to write, but know that much for now.) we are God's vessels. if we fill our bodies with temporary thrills, those all come to an end. yes, we go through ups and downs with serving God, but in doing so, we're working for eternal life with God. alcohol, drugs, materialism, sex, food, for whatever your vice is: those are temporary highs. we can't take any of it to heaven. it doesn't mean that some of these things aren't actually good. for those 21 and up, a glass of red wine may bear healthy-heart properties. food is pretty amazing (haha i'd know!). recreational drugs are still bad no matter what.. but you get my point.
But store up for yourselves heavenly treasures, and "seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:20, 33).
i challenge all of us to be God-fearing. fear offending the man who, himself came down to earth to see just how difficult it is to live in our shoes. fear offending him because he loves us, and we would never want to do anything to get in the way of his love for us (not that anything can except for us completely rejecting it (Romans 8:37-39)).
the earth's moral standards continue to change. they seem to decline, or at least become more muddled each passing moment. but God's love never changes. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). let us really be a holy people. to be holy is literally to be "set apart." let us set ourselves apart from need of anything besides God. yes, we still have lives to live and responsibilities to take care of while we live on the earth, but remember Matthew 6:33. our earthly duties are not incompatible with God's will if we only yield to him and dedicate everything we do in this life to his glory. having fun is so ridiculously compatible with serving God. it is an honor, a privilege, and a JOY to do his work. i've never had more fun in my entire life than in these past three weeks. i really want to share this joy with everybody.