Quite a few months have passed since my last blog update! : ) – After consciously delaying updates for the first few months, the habit of “wanting to update” finally fell asleep and life went on. But today, that’s changed. Much has happened since May of 2006.. very much! I’m writing this afternoon from a dialup connection into Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. In the next few minutes I’ll do my very best to faithfully rehearse the events since my last update and bring the interested among you up-to-date on my life experiences. After that, business will resume : ).
Not long after the launch of Content Heroes back in May of 2006 (my last update), I began slowly but surely taking back up the art of freelance web work. While the launch was met with relative success and positive feedback from all my customers, the next few phases of the business didn’t pan out as I had planned them too and inevitably the project gave way to higher priorities in my life.
In the Summer of 2006, I was converted. It began, among many other things, by the reading of an old book entitled The Great Controversy. After finishing that book, I had a desire to begin taking up the study of the Bible. I’d “read” the Bible all my life, grasping at little bits here and there and generally reading it to satisfy the claims of a convicted conscious. But it wasn’t until the events that transpired during the Spring and Summer of 2006 that I truly began to take a genuine interest in the reading and understanding of God’s Word.
My experience began rather simply. After being inspired by a short story, my younger brother Joshua and I agreed to put the Bible to a test. We each selected a small book of the Bible, he Ephesians and I, Colossians. We committed to reading the book of our choosing for a set number of times each day for a period of two weeks. He chose 7 times a day and I chose 3.
2 weeks later, something completely new began to take place in my life. I always began each reading with a simple prayer, asking for God’s blessing on the reading. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to begin my reading until well into the late evening and at other times it’d be so late that my eyes would barely stay open. But I stuck to it. As I did so, slowly but surely it began having an effect on my mind. I began thinking about the book of Colossians. I began talking about it. The verses would be on my mind throughout the day and, though I can’t fully explain it, the effect it had on me began to be marked.
At the end of 2 weeks, it was time to choose the next course of action. Joshua and I were excited with our progress and eager to continue. He stuck with Ephesians and I chose to bring a 2nd book into my reading, 2nd Timothy. But, after having already grown fond of Colossians, I wasn’t willing to give it up. I decided to read both. 2nd Timothy 3 times a day and Colossians, once.
2 1/2 months later, I was reading 7 small books of the Bible each and every day. That was unheard of for me. Several months prior I would have never imagined it possible. But not only was I doing it, I wanted to do it. With each reading I was constantly searching for a deeper understanding. I began marking my Bible and noting the connections between all the different verses, chapters, and books. It became a delight to search out the treasures hidden within each book and as I faithfully kept up the search, God richly blessed me.
Finally, at the end of the last 2 weeks, I was ready to move on. I’d exercised and acquired discipline during those 2 1/2 months and I was now I had a hungering and a thirsting for more. I had a desire to read the rest of the Bible. I decided to go through the New Testament. A month later, that was finished. For the first time in my life I’d read through the entire New Testament.
Now, that done, I was eager and excited to tackle the Old Testament. I made my way through somewhere around the pace of 10-14 pages a day. Another 2 1/2 months or so later, right near the end of November, 2006, I had finished the Old Testament and a second reading through of the New.
Somewhere during that time, a change took place in my heart. It’s a change that I can’t explain nor will I ever be able to pinpoint exactly. But I recognized something different in my life. For the first time I began to understand God’s love for me. I began to understand the great sacrifice of my Saviour and of all those in the faith who have gone before me, following in His footsteps. Such thoughts would bring tears to my eyes as I realized what a mess I had become.
Yes, I was a mess. Up till that point in my life, self had been the ruling agency. There had been a battle, to be sure. The principles I learned from childhood kept me through my life of independence. I strove to be absolutely honest in all I said and did. I strove to be faithful to my religious convictions (not working on the Sabbath, etc). And while the battles were fierce at times, for the most part I remained faithful.
But the problem was “self”. For those of you who’ve faithfully followed the events of past few years of my life, a number of illustrations may present themselves. My work on the “Startup Blog” several years back became, sadly, while a wonderful learning experience, an overwhelming example of my immaturity and lack of responsibility. My work on the Youthcove.com community, while marked with great success and an amazing range of blessings and positive experiences, also served to show forth my immaturity and inability to manage. My writing style on this very blog and my contributions to internet marketing, showed, though perhaps not openly, a desire for recognition, for respect, for fame. It may be said that these are all normal and even to be admired. I would agree that they are normal; they are a part of our fallen human nature. But as a child of God, there is no place for a desire to be recognized, a desire for the respect of my fellow man.
My problem was my selfishness and God worked wondrously in me to bring me to a point where I could see that problem and begin looking up for the solution.
Back in 2005, I had been blessed with a great deal of financial success. My experience in internet marketing was very real and the financial blessings that accompanied them only served to increase my confidence in my ability to succeed. At a certain point in my experience, I was making more money on a monthly basis through a small number of my websites than the average American’s monthly salary. Everything seemed to be looking up. Consequently, I began lax in my “money management”. I’d been wisely counseled on a number of occasions to become more responsible with my income, to which my reply in thought and even voiced was, “I don’t need to budget, I’ll just make more money.”
Thankfully, all this came to a crashing halt right around February of 2006. Through a powerful series of circumstances, my income was almost entirely cut off. On top of that, because of my poor management ability, I had acquired a considerable sum of credit card debt, all under the pretense that I would quite easily “pay it off later.” Suddenly I was left with no income, a large share of monthly expenses, and a much larger debt over my shoulders.
God knew just what I needed to wake up.
Thankfully, I did so. The road to maturity has been long and very hard and I’ve still a long ways to go, but God is good and infinitely patient and thankfully I am making steady progress.
I took up the art of “freelance” work in the Summer of 2006 and began, once again, gaining and improving my talents in the web development industry. I took up CSS and the basics of PHP, while working to improve my ability with Photoshop. Acting on a strong conviction, I purchased licenses for all the software in my possession and discarded the items obtained illegally in the past. This came at a time when money was very tight, but God greatly blessed and with each commitment, projects came through to pay for my purchases.
Since then, I’ve gained a strong desire for mastery of the web development industry and having been steadily bending my energies towards gaining experience and practical knowledge. It is my desire to put my absolute best into my work, regardless of the client or the size of the project. The experiences have been difficult at times but I am thankful for each and every one. The work has been blessed and continues to grow strongly up to this very day. As the Lord blesses me with more time I’m looking forward to improving my abilities still further.
And thus began my new life. Internet business took a side for awhile as I had much to unlearn and relearn before taking it back up again. I’ve continued to work on a few small “niche marketing” projects here and there and the work has been a rewarding experience and marked with small successes. I don’t know what God has in store for me in the future but I have no doubt that I’ve been blessed with knowledge and experience in “internet business” for a reason and it is my sincere desire to use all that I’ve been blessed with to His honour and glory.
Which brings me to today. Just a few days over a month ago, I landed in Santo Domingo to begin a 2 3/4 month volunteer project. I’ve been working very hard here to acquire and master the Spanish language (absolute immersion does wonders!) and have been growing in my desire with each day to take up work in the medical field to minister to the physical needs of those I come in contact with and, in so doing, have a chance to minister to their spiritual needs as well. My faith is grounded on Sola Scriptura, and, though yet an imperfect faith, I strive earnestly each day for a more thorough and solid understanding of the Bible. It is my desire to share the blessings that I’ve been given with others. God has given me a peace within my heart that passes all understanding and even though life now is more difficult than it’s ever been before, I take comfort in knowing that God is leading and I go forward with an energy that outstrides anything in my past.
In the posts to come, I look forward to sharing more with each of you, my dear readers. The focus of this web journal, as I see it thus far, will be to take up again my work in “internet business” and continue, once again, to share the things I’ve learned with others and help in everyway I can to encourage each of you in your work.
By God’s grace, my faith will shine through in my work, and there may be a point where some of you may take offense. This I cannot avoid, as my faith is what inspires me to put my very best into every venture I undertake. But it is very important to me that each of you know right from the very beginning that I have an absolute respect for your individuality in religion. You are accountable to God alone for your faith and while I will be completely happy to share with you the things I’ve learned upon your request or answer any questions you may have, I completely respect your choice and will do nothing, by God’s grace, to ever infringe on it.
I thank you for your interest and a heartfelt and sincere thanks to all of you who have kept me in your prayers. I look forward to making this blog of humble service to each of you in your work and encouraging you in every way possible. Put your very best into all that you do : ).