Friday, February 27, 2009

You Don't Know...

How special someone is in your life till the miles separate you.

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

Making Our Beds (and more great feats of strength)

Wow, wow, and wow!

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

Here's a Little Song I wrote....

You might want to sing it note by note don't worry BE HAPPY! :P

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

The Real Prize

I'm involved in high school speech and debate. We have club meetings, go to tournaments, give speeches, poke holes in debate cases, and have fun doing it.

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

The Hope of Glory

I have taken the title of this post from Colossians 1:27, which says "Christ in you, the hope of glory." If you look at the previous verse you will find that it talks about this being the mystery of the gospel revealed. That enough makes me want to sing and shout! :D

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!

Now THAT is good news! :D