Monday, December 21, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The memories of you in my heart
And all of the lifetimes that we've had to share
Live even though we're apart
But don't cry for me
'Cause I'm finally free
To run with the angels
On streets made of gold
To listen to stories of saints new and old
To worship our Maker
That's where I'll be
When you finally find me
Now don't you be weary cause waiting for you
Are wonders that you've never known
Just hold on to Jesus, reach out for His hands
Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
And one day they'll welcome you home
And that's when you'll be
I wish you were here
And all of the dreams that you treasure
Will soon come together
And that's when your sorrow will find tomorrow
And you will rise again
Monday, September 7, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Whew! I couldn't believe it was already over! Two weeks goes by quickly when you're having fun!
Monday, August 3, 2009
Yikes! It seems that time is getting away from me! I apologize for having not posted anything in who knows how long. It's been crazy.
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast
YAY!! God is always with me! No matter where I am! I've heard those verses many times but had I truly known them with my heart? Of course not! Praise God for being so good to me!
He was also good to my friends but if you wanna know their stories, ask them. :). I tell you one thing, you will not meet a finer group of students than what we have back at my church! :)
Monday, June 22, 2009
You know how it is when people think that you are amazing? How you are wonderful, intelligent, sweet, and all that jazz?
My parents would tell me that these very words fit my description.
But to be honest, I don't really think I'm all that. There are times when I do not have it all together. Yet I somehow manage to cover it up with a smile and a "just fine, thank you."
I, like every teenage girl desire to be known as beautiful-inside and out.
I have been reading Do You Think I'm Beautiful? by Angela Thomas, given me by a very close friend for graduation. Just from reading the first chapter, I believe my mind is being renewed and that I am changing my way of thinking about myself.
The scripture presented in the first chapter is Psalm 45:11. I have heard this scripture verse before, but the more I meditate on it, the more real it is to me. You may want to sit down for this one :) This is what the Bible says about you and me as women who desire to be called beautiful
WOW! Read that again and again! Meditate on it! Speak it! This is God talking to YOU and ME! This is what He thinks of us!
It feels kinda hypocritical for me to help a friend when they have self esteem issues. If they say they hate themselves, I just pat them on the shoulder and say, "Well Jesus thought you were to die for."
But have I ever considered that He thought I was to die for too?
Sure, I know that He loves me. I know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. But do I really know that? I mean with my heart?
Head knowledge and heart knowledge are two different things and that's a whole nother blog post. I will say it this way-when you know something with your heart, it's real to you.
The fact that you and I are loved by the Almighty God who thinks we are it on a stick needs to be real to all of us.
So next time we feel like a major pain, rotten, stupid, dumb, or slow, we need to remember something important.
The Lord of Lords, the King of Kings is enthralled by our beauty. :)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Well, getting to the summit takes about 45 minutes to an hour, and we weren't in any particular hurry so we took our time, just enjoying God's creation-the grass, the flowers, the trees, and of course the rain!
Ah..nothing like climbing Pinnacle barefoot with your mom! :P
About two thirds of the way to the top, we met our brothers- Stephen (mine) and Tristan (Adara's) and another friend, Gene who were coming down the mountain. All three of them, being big brothers followed their big brother instincts and began escorting us to the summit.
However, when we were almost there I began to tire. Breathing at that altitude is not at all easy, and when you combine that with a girl who has not had a decent exercise routine, you get someone who is out of breath and on the verge of nausea.
I couldn't do this in my own strength. I needed God's grace to help me persevere. I needed Him to help me keep on keeping on, even when it got hard!
And help me He did, all the way up :)
So we got to the summit, and all I could say was "WOW!"
We were surrounded by fog, and at this point it was still raining. But I was simply amazed.
Sure, the last part of the climb was not all that easy, but boy was it worth it!
And once again we were in no particular hurry so the five of us just sat down on the rocks and chatted for awhile.
Of course then, we decided later on that we needed to go back down, figuring that we'd been missed.
All of us were soaked when we came down the mountain needless to say. The Holy Spirit must've known that we would need towels, because that was what Tristan and I got from Mrs. Amanda!
LOL He really is the God who sees!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Normally it would be overwhelming, as the house is messy, and in some circumstances I would have to do alot of it myself.
But with my brother Stephen home from college, it makes it less stressful. More help! :D
That's how I am spiritually. Normally when we go through spiritual cleaning or spiritual battles we can't do it alone.
We need Help! :) and lots of it!
That Help comes from the grace of God-and if you've been reading my blog, you will find that I write alot about it.
After all this grace is amazing :)
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Lots of us have done it, and even I have done it!
You know what I'm talking about, right? People will complain that they're not growing at their church.
But when it comes to my spiritual life, who is responsible for growing me?
Mine. And mine alone.
Check this out!
1 Peter 2:2
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
Notice that it doesn't say "Your pastor should feed you this milk so that you can grow;" This verse very clearly tells us to CRAVE it so that we can grow.
That means that we get spiritually fed from our personal quiet time, reading the Bible (and hearing it preached), and praying.
But you see when we lean toward only one of these, we are in this respect lopsided!
Look at this!
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
So in the time that we spend complaining about how we're not growing at church, we could have been farther along spiritually than we are now!
My point? It is our responsibility to grow us. Not our pastor's (although he does help), or our parent's or teacher's but ours.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Well, I have.
I was reading an e-devotional that I receive from Kenneth Copeland Ministries a few minutes ago, andGod must've known what was on my mind, because that devotional was just the message that I needed to hear!
You see, I will be attending North Central University this fall, and I have been concerned as to how I'm going to pay for it. I've been to the school, and I absolutely loved it, but just like every Christian college, it's really pricey.
Lately, I've felt like I'm walking into a debt trap, yet I know that's where the Lord wants me to go. And by golly I'm going!
But the devil had been harassing me about the tuition check. And you know what? It seems outright irresponsible to not worry about it!
That is, it SEEMED irresponsible till I read these verses from the devotional.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you!
Worry does NOT =being responsible. Worry is sin! What sin, you may ask? It's the sin of not trusting God! Matthew 6 tells us that very plainly here.
For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father KNOWS YOU NEED THEM! But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS shall be GIVEN TO YOU as well.
But we, as Christians have not excuse, whatsoever! After all, we do indeed have El-Shaddai to rely on, so we've no cause to worry!
That doesn't mean that I don't need to work hard though, mind you. That just means that I don't need to bust myself with worry because my job and the scholarships are not my Source. :)
Hey, He'll do the same for you! You belong to Him as much as I do, and he is no respecter of persons! :D
Praise God, once again for revelations! He knows what we need to hear, when we need to hear it!
I got out my iPod, my headphones, and most importantly, my "ears to hear."
Well anyhoo, the series that I am currently listening to is called the First Principle. It's a sermon series that Pastor Moore preached about a year or two back, about keeping God first in your life. Brother Moore's main text in the "The First Principle," is from Matthew 6:33 which says,
Seems cliche'. Pretty basic. Most of us already know it....
But are ANY of us actually DOING it? Are we actually putting His things, His people, and HIM first in our lives?
Unfortunately, no. I know I haven't been.
I've been more eager to rush to the TV or Facebook than the Word, and I've not been doing my quiet time as faithfully, or praying in the Spirit like I should be. I've been more faithful in doing my schoolwork than I have been doing my Bible studies.
Oh well, maybe I don't have time. Maybe I don't FEEL like it. Those are good excuses, right?
When it comes to putting God's things and God's people first, we need to go to the extreme. I know I certainly need to.
It will take some time to discipline myself in that area. My flesh may not like it.
Well my flesh can get over it!
But the harvest you reap from sowing all that time and effort into the Kingdom of God will be rewarded! Read the rest of Matthew 6:33
A good example would be the Parable of the Great banquet in Luke 14. It's scary how much the invited guests who "couldn't come" sound like me!
18"But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'
19"Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.'
20"Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'
21"The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'
22" 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.'
23"Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. 24I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.' "
Ouch! What a wake-up call!
It showed me what the result is when I don't seek Him first. I miss out on something amazing! And it's not His fault I missed it, it's mine for being lazy and complacent.
Thank God that He is merciful and that I can start over every morning!
You see, God wants us to have the very best in life. But He can't give it to us unless we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. The adding onto comes later, sometimes later than we would like. But we would be amazed about how much we grow and become like Him if we made Him number one in our lives.
Like I said, it's not gonna be easy. I will have to make changes all my life, but if I follow Him, I'll be on my way to something better! My life consists of giving Him my all!
I don’t wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything?
Instead of going through the motions
Matthew West-The Motions
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
But he also needs to be washed-one of his least favorite things to do.
And it has to be done or else we'd have a dirty dog running around the house.
So after weeks and weeks of me and Dad having a Mexican standoff of who was going to...nay, who was willing to get wet (hey, every dog shakes when their heads get wet and this one is no exception!) and take ten minutes out of their day to do it this time, I gave in and volunteered to do it (even though I beat Dad fair and square in a 3/5 game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.)
But when I'm cleaning house (or in this case, the dog), my mind is quiet. And what happens when your mind is quiet?
You can hear from God!
So while I'm bathing this dog, who hasn't been bathed in weeks, I notice that he isn't really all that happy with me. Like I said, the dog hates baths.
But I was doing him a benefit by cleaning him up, right?
Absolutely! You see, when I was cleaning him up, I was helping him get rid of the pollen, dirt, grime, and the substances-of-unknown-origin out of his fur, paws and tummy.
And while I was scrubbing him with the cherry-blossom scented shampoo, it hit me.
This is how God is with us.
He wants to help us "clean up" the sin, guilt, and shortcomings in our lives (or in Buck's case, the dirt, pollen, and so forth), so that we can grow spiritually, but we have to be willing to give Him control of our lives, just like Buckles had to give control to me. And in the end, he was a clean doggy!
It's not always gonna be easy to surrender your "favorite sin". Just like Buckles would rather stay dirty than get wet and soapy, we, at times don't like getting corrected. We'd rather just think that we're the perfect Christian with no flaws whatsoever But in the end, the correction (or washin') that we receive from listening to the Holy Spirit, reading the Bible, and fellowshiping with other believers is totally worth the effort, since we are becoming more and more like the Master everyday. Discipline and correction are the way to life, according to Proverbs 6:23. It even compares discipline to a lamp, and teachings to a light, that guide our way through life!
To sum things up, I would like to share another Scripture from Proverbs concerning these things.
There you have it! This is one of the many reasons we need to give God control of our lives and let Him clean us up!
Praise the LORD for revelations!
And praise the LORD for scented shampoo!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Where has time gone?
Still hard to believe that this will be my last year in Teen Bible Quiz, my last year in yearbook staff, my last year at Academy, my last year to compete in Fine Arts Festival, my last year in youth group, my last year to go to Youth Camp as a camper, and my first and last year as a competitive speaker.
These "lasts" hit me pretty hard tonight, because tonight was the (dare I say it?) last meeting for my speech and debate team for the school year.
Hard to believe that I barely knew many of those on our team at the beginning of the year! And if you had seen us in Mrs. Alsop's van on the way to the Houston tournament, you wouldn't believe it either!
Caffeine + Sleep-deprived + 8 girls + 1 guy + ADOS=CRAZY!!! :)
But I could not have asked for a better group of people to travel with as a team! I love you all!!!!
Now I'm thinking about Fine Arts. Looking back would I have wanted to compete with any other churches at the competition? Heck, no!
Thank God that I have an amazing youth group, filled with wonderful teenagers like myself, who want to grow and keep growing in their relationship with God! They have been my fellow campers, prayer warriors, and friends. I love all of you so much!
And thank God for Fine Arts! It is, in my opinion, one of the best programs the Assemblies of God has to offer its youth! Without FAF I would not have discovered that God has called me into deaf ministry-or that I love Sign Language so much! What amazing opportunities I had to display the gifts and talents that God has given me! I am so glad that I did not take those lightly!
Church camp. I absolutely hate it that this is my last year to go as a camper! :(. But thank God for camp! Camp is my highlight of the summer! A time for just me and God to fellowship, grow closer, and just talk! A time for me to grow closer to those in our youth group! I feel like a better person coming out than when I go in! :) What amazing memories!
Teen Bible Quiz! I will miss it so much! I have been actively involved in Bible quiz for twelve years now. It has been so much a part of my life, and I am thankful to the Lord for it too! I have made Psalm 119:11 my life verse. This verse is the reason why I have stuck with Bible Quiz for so long.
But whenever I'm in a situation and I need God's guidance, He brings to my remembrance the verse that applies to the situation, and from Him, I gain heart knowledge.
God's Word is life to me. For years, I have been feeding my Spirit with His words and have not even known it!
Bible Quiz has, indeed, taught me many things about His Word, and because I know the Bible, I feel like I have a more personal relationship with One who wrote it!
That my friends, is what Bible Quiz is all about!
And Academy! I am so going to miss Academy! The choirs, the plays, the writing the study halls (where we don't really study!), and most importantly, the people.
The People consisting of my teachers and friends-too many of them to count! Too many memories, like playing ERS in Bio lab, Apples to Apples in study hall, off campus lunches at BK, and the list goes on!
Thank You, Lord, for giving me such great friends, team members, teachers, coaches, youth group members, debate team members, and pastors!
Yes, there are many lasts in Senior year. But I cannot let it depress me, because I know that there will be many "firsts" next year.
Now, I can't say that I know what those "firsts" are.
But that doesn't mean that I'm not looking forward to it! ":D
Just one more thing before you leave
Don't forget to remember me"
Don't Forget to Remember Me by Carrie Underwood
Monday, April 6, 2009
Fortunately, the Holy Spirit got my attention, and I read it yesterday. The Lord must've seen what was going to happen because I just found out today that my mom's cousin, Melanie, died. :(
Life does come at you fast.
But the message I read in my emails was just what I needed to hear!
The title of the devotion was Sorrow Not!
One of the devotions main points was that when times of grief and sorrow come, we need to feast on the Joy of the LORD which, according to Nehemiah 8:10 is our strength, the very strength that keeps us going! It's the very strength that helped me through the death of my great-grandfather five years ago.
Fact is fact. We can't do this alone.
Honestly, I don't know how people who do not belong to Christ go through grief and loss!
But since I am born again, I know that I will see Melanie again someday!
The Holy Spirit gave me a new perspective of death back in October, when my grandma died, the perspective being the fact that I know I will see her again since I am a Christian myself.
Or a shorter version would be this-We didn't lose Grandma; she moved away!
That is one thing that is getting us through this time of my cousin's "moving out" :)
Another thing that is enabling me and my family go through this is the fact that Jesus went through the same emotions that we did concerning loss!
Sometimes, I tend to read through the Bible quickly without reading between the lines.
However when I read John 11 33-35, I saw in my heart very clearly that Jesus did have emotions that He had to overcome; and overcome He did!
Many of us cannot imagine Jesus weeping about anything; but yet Jesus did. The Bible says He did.
Jesus understands everything we go through in everyday life! He understands the things we are tempted with, struggle with, fight with. Why?
Because He went through those same things Himself! Check out Hebrews 4:15:
"For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one Who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet without sin."
I now breathe a big sigh of relief, knowing that He understands, and more importantly, He cares! Even about the smallest thing in our lives! THAT is how much He loves you and me!
So I lean on the Holy Spirit as my Comforter, through times of loved ones moving out! ;). Ha! Those who have moved out are having a ball at this very minute! They get to see it all before we do! :/. Not fair I know, but the LORD has plans for those of us still on the earth. But still, I long for,
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it Jesus, this I plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be!
Friday, March 20, 2009
Well the message I listened to last night was called Reverencing the Holy Spirit. It's amazing how often I have disrespected Him and not even realized it! Thank goodness the Lord is merciful to us in our ignorance!
Brother Keith's main text was taken from Acts chapter 5:1-5
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.
What a happy ending. :/
Here we see the worse case scenario of disrespecting the Holy Spirit.
Now did Ananias think for a second that he might possibly be lying to God, not just the man of God?
Probably not. He probably thought he was lying to Peter, and Peter only. No big deal, right?
He may have been lying to Peter from a natural standpoint, but the Holy Spirit took it personally. This was proven when Peter said, "You have not lied to man but to God."
Here's another example. Saul, when he was on the road to Damascus and was blinded by a great light, what did Jesus say to him in Acts 9:4? Did He say, "Why are you persecuting my followers?" No, Jesus said,
"Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
Here again, we see Jesus taking the mistreatment, persecutions, and arrests, personally. To Jesus, how we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ, is how we treat the Holy Spirit.
And here is more biblical proof. Jesus, when He is talking to the lambs in Matthew 25. When He was talking about how He was sick, in prison, thirsty, and the lambs met His needs? From a natural standpoint, they were helping other people.
However, we see Jesus taking this personally as well.
Wow! Jesus is saying that how we treat other people is how we treat Him! So that's why Mom always encouraged me and my brother to treat eachother like we would Jesus.
So, with those Scriptures and examples in mind, I'm gonna think twice before I talk back to Mom, roll my eyes at Dad, and snap at my brother!
It will take alot of growing on my part! Thank God that the Holy Spirit is here to help me :)
Monday, March 16, 2009
Houston. Our very first real tournament for Speech and Debate. Full of surprises, food, and exercise! :O
After the tournament, Mrs. Alsop, our coach, asked us to make a list of things that we learned in Houston to present before the class, which I did but I felt that you guys would like to see it as well! :) Also, I did not get to present all of the lessons learned at that strenuous tournament so I thought I would put them on here!
1. Don't wear high heels, (or any kind of heels for that matter) at these tournaments. Stick to flats. Trust me, your feet will thank you! :)
2. If you are competing in multiple events, don't panic if you find that all of your events will be taking place on the same pattern (whether pattern A or B). Look on the bright side, you can get all of it out of the way at once, and you have some down time during the next pattern :)
3. If you are competing in a limited preparation event such as Apologetics or Impromptu and you've had to run up three flights of stairs to get there on time, don't give your speech til you've taken a breather. Ask the judges if you can sit down for a little bit so you can catch your breath. The adjudicators will appreciate this because they may not have finished the ballots from the last person who spoke.
4. Don't wear heels. At all. Ever.
5. When debating, (whether it be LD or Policy), address ALL of your opponents arguments and/or contentions. Failure to do so could result in loss (in other words, Katie, a total Epic failure. Oops, you just lost the game :P
6. Keep God as your main focus. He'll give you perfect peace when it feels like you're drowning in the midst of speeches, debates, and caffeine. Isaiah 26:3. Trust me, you'll need it. (That shoulda been number 1 btw!) :O
7. Did I fail to mention....DON'T WEAR HEELS?????!!?!?!?
8. Cheer on your fellow teammates, and if you don't break in any of your categories, don't sweat it. Look on the bright side, you don't have to speak tomorrow! Take the day off! You've earned it!
9. HAVE FUN and give God the glory! :D
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Today, I resolved to depend on God to help me in each of my seven performances for our District Fine Arts Festival and to leave the results to Him...as long as the Holy Spirit and I made in impact on the adjudicators and others who were present.
Of course, I figured that qualifying to go the National Fine Arts Festival in Orlando, Florida wouldn't be that bad either. ;=).
But my friend and I, who entered the Sign Language Group category and signed On My Cross by FFH merited more than just an invitation to Nationals. Not only did we qualify for Nationals, but we, with the help of the Holy Spirit, made a big impact on the audience as well as our adjudicators. Nearly everyone in the room (ourselves included), were either crying or on the verge of tears. Praise God for the talents and abilities He gave us to perform and do a good job!
That evening, after we had left the church and were on our way home, I listened to the song again, and came close to tears again when I heard these words come out of my iPod's headphones.
I don't know
Why You went where I was meant to go
I don't know
Why You love me so,
Those were my nails,
It was my crown
That pierced Your hands
And Your brow,
Those were my thorns,
Those were my scorns
Those were my tears that fell down.
And just as You said it would be You did it all for me
That, my dear friends is the delivery. So many times we take what Jesus did for us for granted-we don't bother to think about all the pain He went through with the beatings. the floggings, and the crucifixion itself. I, myself have never given much thought to the fact that the person on the cross could've-and should've-been me. Wow.
John 3:16 has to be an absolute understatement. God loved us so much that He sent His son to die in our place. But never have I really meditated on it.
Jesus had to know what was coming when He was in the Garden of Gethsemene. And yet, he went through it anyway.
And yet I have trouble with simply getting my mom a glass of iced tea after a long day at work, or doing the dinner dishes (again!)
These are so trivial. So nothing compared to what Jesus went through.
I figure now, if Jesus could go through what He did without caving, then it's about time that I become more of a servant, and put down the flesh's desires.
If Jesus could make that kind of sacrifice for us, then what is holding me back from serving others on His behalf?
This Saturday, I will be participating in a Food Pantry Ministry. Not only will I be given the opportunity to serve, but I will have a chance to make a big impact in someone else's life.
As long as I strive to serve, I know I will be growing up and becoming more and more like my Master :)
I wish to love people with the same kind of love He had for me as He hung there on the cross, while the others taunted Him. He could've stopped it at anytime, he knew how much pain He was going to be in, but still He went through with it.
In those eighteen hours of abuse and mistreatment, He carried our sicknesses, griefs sorrows, and our sins against Him. And all we have to do is receive the salvation that He has promised us through His grace and Mercy. All He asks for in return is to make Him the Lord of our lives. John 14:6 says that Jesus is the way to God...and the only way! So if you are reading this and have not received Jesus into your life, then pray this prayer with me right now.
If you look over to the side panels of my blog there should be a few website links. Those are from ministries that I greatly respect, and have helped me grow in my faith in my Savior (now yours too :). There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus so do not feel condemned about anything you have already done; it is in the past now! (Romans 8:1). That is why Jesus came in the first place; to take our sin and our shame. And now, I leave you with the last few words of the chorus of the song On My Cross!
And after You counted the cost,
You took my shame,
On My Cross.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Today we had a Speech and Debate Round Robin tournament.
Round Robins do not have the high-strung atmosphere like the tournament in Houston did, (thank the Lord, because I probably would have fallen out-no, not in the Spirit, thank you :) but it still required good time management and organization, NONE of which I seemed to have at the beginning of this tournament. I had to get my speech and read it off because I blanked out on some of those well-loved statistics (if that had been a real tournament then I would have either been disqualified, or have been given a penalty of two ranks), bombed my limited preparation Apologetics speech in the first round (How embarrassing!), and to put the cherry on top, I seemed to be very forgetful during speech round one! I forgot pens, ballots, and seemed to be scatterbrained! I was so ready to cry after I had given my speeches for the first time today!
Then it hit me.....
Once again, I was building my house on the sand! I had been so reliant on "MY" amazingly-awesome memorization skills, and "MY" supposed mad thinking-on-my-feet abilities.
Once again, I had forgotten Who my Source of strength, peace and speaking skills was.
Once again, I had forgotten Who had even GIVEN me those talents!
When I realized that, I prayed to my Source and asked Him for help, strength and peace. And oh, how I needed that peace! And you know something? When the LORD delivers, by golly He delivers!
He gave me the peace I needed to do my second Apologetics speech, the words to say, and enough words to say to fill the time slot!
He gave me the strength and composure I needed to do my Persuasive, and He helped me handle myself with grace, when I needed to look at my speech notes (again!)
All in all, it was a good day, not because the judges gave me good reviews, but because I let the Holy Spirit teach me! And when you let the Holy Spirit teach you, you are setting yourself up for success, not failure. After all, doesn't the Bible say that God works EVERYTHING for our good? (Romans 8:28).
Knowing that you can't do it on your own, helps you to fully rely on God. His grace is sufficient to get you out of any trouble that you're in right now! It's by grace THROUGH FAITH that we're even saved! (Ephesians 2:8).
So I need to rely on His grace, listen to what He tells me to do, and by faith DO IT!!!
He showed me that today through a six-hour speech and debate tournament. I can hardly wrap my mind around what He could teach me with six days, or six years if I listen and obey!
Praise God for revelations!
For My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in your weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9
Monday, March 2, 2009
Just said goodbye to some very good friends of ours after preparing (and feasting on!) an amazingly-awesome dinner party! Laughs were shared, cookies and brownies were themselves consumed by the chocolate-thirsty individuals, and songs from the Phantom of the Opera were sang. Yes, a lovely evening indeed.
God indeed made us to fellowship-not just with our brothers and sisters in Christ but with Him. Sadly, I have been neglecting that fellowship for awhile. No, I didn't say I'd stopped believing it-I said I'd cooled a little bit. Just not as excited about Him as I used to be.
My house has been on the sand. And every time the winds and rains have come and beat against my house, I've fallen flat on my face.
When it comes to a relationship with the God of the universe, it's all or nothing, and I have found that living both ways makes you double-minded, and according to James, if you're double-minded, you're unstable. I've realized that I've been, in a way, playing the role of god in my life. Let me explain. I may be a good guitar player. But it is the grace of God that makes me a good musician, not because I'm so "great." In fact, I don't even deserve it!
I've also found that if I'm not fully focused on Him then I can become confused, distracted. Not on top of things spiritually. I've even prayed during service at church, begging God to not let me be the one who interprets the message given in tongues! :O.
I've also let my faith for healing slack up a bit. I've not been on top of the devil every time I've had a headache like I used to. If I've gotten sick I've just endured it with silent acceptance, like when I had the stomach virus last year. And every time I've gotten sick since then it's been worse.
So really, if you give a mouse a cookie.....he's gonna want a glass of milk. :)
Foolish pride. That's what's been keeping me from being blessed by God, used by God, healed by God. And according to Proverbs, pride eventually leads to destruction.
It's so amazing how easy it is to fall prey to the devil's schemes, to fall into temptation! God forbid that I be like the foolish person who built his house on the sand!
I'm gonna put my trust in God and by golly, keep my house secured on the rock!
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Take for example, my brother. He started at an out of state Bible college in the fall, and not having him around has been....well, weird.
Up till the time he left I cannot remember ever not seeing him for more than a week. Now, I'm having to go one, two, maybe even three months without seeing him. We have done quite a bit of talking on the phone, but it's not the same as actually getting to talk face-to-face or even giving him a hug.
Another good example would be my best friends in Shreveport. Last time I saw them was in October-and a good whopping four months have gone by since then. And to think seven years ago, I saw them almost every day. They made living in Shreveport so much fun. They are like brothers and sisters to me. Oh, how I miss them!
But then I realize that life goes on. Moving, going to college, and starting a family is all a part of life. These things are going to happen eventually in your life if they haven't yet.
But when that time comes don't let it depress you, like I did for the longest time. The devil did everything he could to make me depressed, sad, and angry (I mean c'mon just WHY did we HAVE to move?) and he will do the same thing to you and succeed if you let him. It's so easy to fall prey to those emotions but like I said this is where the devil will try and trap you like he did me.
If you are the one moving or staying, seize the opportunity that God has given you to make an impact in someone else's life, just like you did with your friend(s). Overtime, you will find that if you had succombed to those feelings you never would have made as many friends or matured in the Lord like you did.
By God's grace I overcame those feelings and have made many friends who love the Lord like I do, and influence me to do the things that God has called me to do. Imagine what I would have missed out on if I had stayed in Shreveport! I still consider Shreveport to be home, and my friends there to be family, but my new place will have a special place in my heart as well.
It's just like the old saying,
Make new friends, but keep the old;
One is silver, and the other's gold.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I did not realize how far the expectations for teenagers like myself had fallen till I read the book Do Hard Things by fellow teens Alex and Brett Harris. And reading about what many adults expect of us is terribly sad.
I read about a search that the Harris twins did to help write their book. They searched the words teens and expectations under the Google search engine. What they found under the list of expectations for us was the saddest thing I've ever laid eyes on!
Preteens and teens 11-14 are expected to
*make their beds everyday
*Be able to take a phone message and leave it where a parent can see it
*clean their rooms once a week (with help from Mom and Dad)
*Make plans with their friends and giving parents all the information
*managing an allowance
The older teens list does NOT get an better! As well as everything on the younger teens list we are expected to,
*making sure the gas gauge stays above a quarter of a tank
*doing a daily household chore (yup, just one!) like doing the dishes.
*Doing a weekly chore (just one!) like vacuuming or dusting.
*cleaning their rooms once a week (with no help from Mom and Dad)
*making special dates on the planner.
I have three syllables that accurately describe this list of supposed expectations. Pa-the-tic. There's even a list of encouragement to the parents that says "Do not feel that your teenager should be doing all of them." WHAT?????
How do you become a fully functioning adult if all you're expected to do is take a phone message, make your bed and do the dishes?
It just shows how far we've fallen in reputation. People don't expect much out of us, and if they DO expect something out of us, it's not gonna be something good! Many people EVEN CHRISTIANS consider us to be low-down, good-fer-nothin' couch potatoes!
We have alot more potential than the world gives us credit for...and most of the time, more than we give ourselves credit for!
What ever happened to teenagers being contributors of society rather than consumers?
Fact is fact. The teenage years are not a break from responsibility! They are the foundation of the person we will be the rest of our lives! It is the training ground so that we can become the person God wants us to be!
If we keep up our attitude of complacency and laziness, then we'll grow up to be a generation who just doesn't care about anything-faith, family, or politics. Right now, we're not expected to be able to have an intelligent conversation with an adult!
It's time we started actually growing up and rebelling against the current standards expected of us as teens. It's time we stopped acting like children and start acting, behaving, and being responsible like adults!
This is not beyond us! We can do it!
Philippians 4:13. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!
We need to get out of our comfort zones! Stop letting fear of failure halt us in our tracks! And we need to start....
Doing Hard Things. :)
Monday, February 16, 2009
This is a pretty old song but its message still rings true today.
Don't worry. Yup, that's right don't worry. This is a subject that the Lord has been dealing with me on for awhile.
You might not believe this, but I used to be the best worrier in the US. I thought worrying about someone equaled caring for someone.
That is, until I read Matthew 6:25-34, which says,
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Needless to say, this passage hit me pretty hard across the face, because. I realized from reading this passage, that
1. God would take care of whatever I needed. (vs 25-26)
2. worry doesn't help. At all. Ever. (vs 27). If it doesn't do me any good, well then WHY DO IT?
3. I learned that worry is the sin of not trusting God.
4. God already knows when we need something! He's the God who sees (vs 32).
5.If you make God #1 in your life, then He will add on to you whatever is needed! (vs 33-34)
6. Don't worry about what's going to happen tomorrow, next week, or even next year! Focus on the here and now. (vs 34)
Pretty cool, huh? :) There is alot more in this passage that can be devoured, but I'm just getting started here!
Friday, February 13, 2009
But winning isn't our only concern. Sure, winning the first-place trophy is pretty awesome, but I gotta ask myself, what is more important to me?
Those three days in Houston (our very first real tournament), I had that decision to make. Was I there to win and blow everyone out of the water? Or was I there to do my best, make friends and glorify God?
So often when you get involved in a competition as strenuous as speech and debate, (or any competition for that matter) you have that choice to make. What is more important to you? Winning first prize, or being the most Christ-like team there?
I, as well as our team, have chosen the latter choice, and it has brought us much joy! We are continually at peace because we are striving to be like the Master, and NOT striving to be better than everyone else present. We try to mirror Christ in everything we say and do. It's not always easy, but the rewards are worth it!
You see, in such a high stress situation, it's easy to go with what the flesh man wants rather than what the spirit man wants. When you're tired after having run up three flights of stairs to get to one of your speech events on time, or you've had to (PATIENTLY) wait 45 minutes for all three judges to arrive, or if your feet just flat out hurt because no one told you that wearing heels at these tournaments was a dumb idea, it's easy to fall prey to the flesh. These tournaments are a test of character as well as skill.
So instead of complaining about how stressful and tiring these 16-hour-day tournaments are, I resolve to think of these as an opportunity to grow spiritually and emotionally. These tournaments are the training ground to help me become what God wants me to be, an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone, and do hard things.
Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Try and meditate on what those words mean for a minute....ready? Ok.
We have the Greater One living in us. Yup, that's right. 1 John 4:4 says we do. Not only that, but this verse says that He is greater than the One who is in the world! In Christ, we are always guaranteed the victory for whatever problem satan throws our way 1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. So if an unexpected charge or bill comes in the mail, don't fret-He's got your back! You are given the victory!