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Summary: Life is full of stages. Time, outside forces, our own maturing nature forces us to move on.Young people, the first thing you need to get right in life starting independence, your priority, is to learn to seek God, fear God, and live only by His standards.

Graduations: Moving Up! Kelly Durant 5-31-15

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

2. How many of you have seen a toddler scream when the parents are trying to put it into the stroller? Once a one year old discovers that he/she can run around, they do not want to be restrained in a stroller anymore! They want to enjoy their newly discovered freedom. I recall I would take Renee in the mall or the park when she was a year old she would sometimes run for a whole block and never looking back to see if I was there! I stayed in shape back then!

Life is full of stages. Time, outside forces, our own maturing nature forces us to move on. Ecclesiastes chapter 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; (A time to graduate as well!)

All of us are aware that it is impossible to turn back time. What was done is done, there are no second chances with most everything in life. A 25 year old cannot say, “Oh I messed up when I was 18, now I am ready to go back to High School!” He can go to adult night school, but regular High School is not an option, right? We must be serious to get it right the first time.

3. Life is a school! God’s law schooled us and we have graduated on to grace with Jesus. God is teaching us at every stage and some learn and some don’t! We are proud of the 5 young people graduating this year! Some pass the grade and others fail. Speaking of graduations, how many dropouts do you think there are from High Schools? Observe these statistics as published by the Miami Herald last year, 2014. Read more here: (below is one paragraph from the article)

‘Ortiz became principal in 2009 at one such school, Miami Edison Senior High, where the graduation rate in 2003 was lower than 20 percent. (80% dropout rate!) Last year, Edison’s graduation rate hit 70 percent - a 250 percent increase over the past decade that is unmatched by any other non-alternative high school in Florida. Other schools share similar turnaround stories. Miami Jackson doubled its graduation rate from less than 40 percent to 85 percent last year.’

These stats were quite dismal but it seems things are getting better in the past 10 years (that is if the teachers are not allowing cheating on the testing). So with this comparison, any young person graduating is to be honored and praised! Isn’t it interesting to note that from our Corps (as in most Christian churches) those who have faith in Jesus have more drive and motive to be good achievers and successful at everything they do? Congratulations to all our 5 young people graduating this year!

4. What motivates young people (or a person of any age) to want to be applied, hard-working, inquisitive, persistent, patient, and successful? It is having a love for God and excellence! Our Christian faith requires it! Ecclesiastes 9:10 (a) Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;

The Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit in us, is compared to a gentle dove, patient and soft, but at the same time it is like a fire that burns and never stops advancing, purifying all things in its path. How many of you have ever put ashes on a cut? Where a fire has been there is change and purity left behind. Purity implies humility, the opposite of a proud or arrogant spirit which ungodly people possess especially when they are young and think they know-it-all.

Those who have God’s spirit are on fire and always want to be on the move, moving up the level expected of them. If they sit still their conscience burns inside them telling them that they are failing God for being stuck. No normal person wants to be carried or pushed around in a rolling chair (either young or old) when they have the ability to walk and be independent. How degrading, unfair, and unnatural it is for someone to be held back when they are capable of doing great things on their own! It is our job as mature ones in the faith to support the maturing ones in their missions in life!

5. Maturing is not easy! In ancient Israel, and even in many countries today, most young people are expected to be adults somewhere between ages 12 and 14. They are required to be self-sufficient, to start laboring in fields or factories, to marry and have kids, or even to become a soldier. Under the Communist influenced constitution model from Cuba and Venezuela, Bolivia changed the law 2 years ago to for kids to start working at age 10! Remember uneducated people are easily manipulated. Worse it is with isis groups that train 10 year olds to be killers and soldiers! That is a horrible abuse and God will make hell hot for those that cause little ones to stumble.

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