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Graduates: Be strong, stay strong | Faith

by | June 3, 2018 5:00 am

Last Updated: May 30, 2018 at 10:56 am

In just a few days, the graduations here in Colleton County and elsewhere will be over for the 2017-2018 school year. However, this will only be the beginning for these graduates —the beginning of a new chapter unfolding in their lives.
The opportunities for the positive and the negative are out there, but making the right choices is all too important.
According to an old adage, “Don’t let the devil ride because if you do, he will want to drive.” Therefore, I say to our graduates, let the choices that you make for your future be the right ones. Don’t try to do what everyone else is doing. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken,” contends Oscar Wilde, a famous author.
However, the most profound advice about making the right choices is nestled in the Word, for Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) vividly commands, “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.”
Graduates, as your new path commences, everything will not be a “bed of roses.” Challenges await you, but it is how you deal with them that will keep you strong enough to continue on in order to reach your desired goals.
You will stand at crossroads of which you never dreamed. Thorns will be stuck in your side. Valleys will get deeper and deeper. There will be those who will dig ditches for you to fall in, not knowing “People who set traps for others get caught themselves. People who start landslides get crushed,” Proverbs 26:27 (GNT). Mountains will get harder to climb.
Gospel legend Wintley Phipps, in his awesome discourse about the history of “Amazing Grace,” said that an old (African-American) woman down South once told him something about a mountain: “Son, if the mountain was smooth, you couldn’t climb it!” This makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Therefore, life is not smooth, so we should expect to be faced with some mountains to climb.
When you pray during a “mountainous trial,” “Don’t ask God to move the ‘mountain’ (out of your life); ask Him to give you the strength to climb,” according to Gospel legend Mahalia Jackson.
Further, graduates, set your goals so that when the positive opportunities come your way, you can grab a hold to them, and weigh your options.
You must plan your future, or it will be planned for you, which may not be in your best interest.
The sky is the limit as so many who have gone before you have proven.
As you go forth, don’t forget the teachings of your parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, older siblings, community leaders and any other adults who have had a positive influence on your lives. When you leave home, remember that you will be standing on the shoulders of many who have paved the way for you, so “Never forget from whence you came.”
When the decisions get tough, and roads seem a little rough, “Be strong, stay strong and love God.” He can do anything except fail.
There’s a song that my maternal grandmother and my mother use to sing, “Take the Lord with you, everywhere you go.” Do that, and you will find that life will be much easier than your trying to lean to your own understanding.
In closing, please join me in this prayer for all graduates. Giving honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: I ask our Creator and our Maker to cover each graduate in His precious blood.
Bless all the parents and guardians for all that they have done to get their graduates from birth to this present moment.
May they be forever appreciative for all the knowledge, love, and kindness that their educators have bestowed upon them, to include administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, band directors, secretaries, receptionists, clerks, custodians/housekeepers, cafeteria workers, school resource officers, and bus drivers. Lord, help each graduate to go forth in a positive manner, and help them to be a blessing to their families and this world. Further, I ask You, oh Lord, to grant peace and comfort to those families who have lost children who were members of a graduating class.
Finally, I pray, God, that You will command Satan to take his filthy hands from our young people so that they can move forward with what You have prepared for them in life. In the precious name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.
Congratulations to all the graduates! Be safe, and make wise decisions, even during your celebrations.
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!

(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at

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