Friday, March 20, 2009

Reverencing the Holy Spirit by Respecting Others.

I listen to sermons on my iPod. So every night when I go to bed, I'll lay my head on the pillow, pop my earbuds in, and listen to sermons by Pastor Keith Moore. (I have the link to his website on the side panel of this blog).

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.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts%205&version=31


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?

Wrong!

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."

Ouch.

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?"

http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=saul+why++me&searchtype=all&version1=31&spanbegin=1&spanend=73

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.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=47&chapter=25&version=31

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 :)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the suns of God.
Romans 8:14

Monday, March 16, 2009

Houston, Caffeine, and Keeping it Real

This is a note that I wrote after our very first tournament, but I thought my blog readers would like it as well :)


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

On My Cross

Remember how I talked about how much I need God's grace in my life, and how a six hour speech and debate tournament taught me that very thing?

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.

Until now.

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.

Dear Father in heaven, I ask You to come into my life. Cleanse me of my sins and make me whole again. I give my life to You. I renounce sin, and I renounce satan and I give my life wholly to You. Thank You for what You did for me! In Jesus' Name amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then the Bible says you are a new creation in Him! (2 Corinthians 5:17.) You are now a different person than you were when you prayed.

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,
My blame
On My Cross.


Friday, March 6, 2009

It Just Hit me....

about how badly I need God's grace in my life!

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

Rocky Road, or Sandy Shore?

Whew.....

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.

Yikes.

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!

No.

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.