Friday, September 13, 2013

No cheese

If you pay attention, you can learn several lessons every day just by living your normal life. The other day, I went to McDonalds and ordered a quarter pounder combo. Terribly unhealthy, but I hadn't really eaten all day, and I was hungry! I normally order my hamburgers without cheese, but because I felt too lazy to say the extra words,  I decided to just eat the cheese. After I drove away, I opened my sandwich and discovered that it was missing the cheese. I instantly felt irritated. I had paid for a sandwich with cheese on it, but they had cheated me out of my cheese! I took a sip of my root beer and frowned. It tasted more like Coke to me. I began mumbling to myself about the lousy service and my lack of cheese until I realized how ridiculous I was being. I had never wanted cheese; I was just going to eat it since it came with cheese. I chuckled and thanked God for getting me my sandwich just the way I like it. I turned up Michael Buble and happily drove home. When I got home, I realized that McDonalds had given me a double cheeseburger without cheese instead of the quarter pounder I had paid for. That made me upset again, but then I laughed and walked into the house. We need to realize how many mistakes we make each day and be gracious toward others when they make mistakes (especially if they are working frantically in a fast-food restaurant). Don't be so quick to complain. It's embarrassing.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Answer to a question as old as man?

I was reading Romans 3, and verses 4-8 really stood out to me.

Romans 3:4-8 (ESV):
4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged."
5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)
6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
7 But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
8 And why not do evil that good may come?-as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.

So many times, people have asked themselves, is it okay to lie to protect someone else? or is it okay to lie to an enemy? Corrie Ten Boom, one of my heroes, wrote in The Hiding Place that her family discussed the lying issue while hiding Jews in their home during the Nazi invasion. Corrie thought it was okay to lie to soldiers about having Jews in their home, but her sister Nollie did not. When soldiers banged on the door of their house to search for men to force into their army, they quickly hid the men in the potato cellar under the table. Corrie felt that it was an obvious hiding place, but they didn't have much time. They let the soldiers in, who demanded to know where the men were. Nollie told them that they were under the table, and Corrie couldn't believe her ears. The soldiers looked under the table without noticing the cellar, and they thought that Nollie was teasing them. They stomped out, and the men were safe.

Corrie lied to protect the Jews, and it seemed necessary to do so, but when Nollie refused to lie, God blessed that decision and protected the boys Himself. I believe that these verses answer the question, "Is it okay to lie when...?" If you lie to bring about good, God will still count that lie as sin because it is wrong no matter what. This just fascinated me because I've wondered about it for so long. As I read about people hiding Jews and slaves, I thought that lying really was necessary and that it would be stupid to tell the truth. But now I believe that God wants us to tell the truth, even in the impossible situations, and He'll take care of the rest!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"When Can I Fall?"

My dad was telling me about his coworker's four-year-old boy who recently got his head run over by a golf cart. The doctor installed a metal plate in his head that will become his skull as he grows, and he has recovered remarkably well. On the way to the doctor for a check-up, he told his mom authoritatively, "I want to see the doctor. I need to talk to him." When she asked him what he needed to say, he replied, "I need to ask him: when can I run, when can I jump, when can I ride my bike, and when can I fall." I was so surprised by this little boy's last question. What a cutie! The last question showed some insight on life. The boy knew that he was going to fall; it's just part of life, and he was planning on it. The doctor told him that he could run, and he could jump, but he couldn't fall that week. Obviously, the doctor couldn't control whether or not the boy fell, but he would keep him from falling if he could.

After we get injured spiritually, we usually need some recovery time. We know we're going to fall again, but God won't give us more than we can handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV):
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

Another thing about temptation is that God doesn't cause it, so don't blame Him.

James 1:13 (ESV):
"Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am being tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one."

I think God is probably like that doctor, knowing that we're not ready for a fall immediately after a spiritual emergency. He gives us some recovery time, and if you feel like you're getting pounded by temptation after temptation, realize that God won't give you more than you can bear. Rely on his strength to battle your temptations.

Philippians 4:12-13 (ESV):
"12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Reading

Here's a "sweet sixteen" list of some of my favorite books:

1. Gifted Hands by Ben Carson

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3. The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson

4. Rachel's Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott

5. The Journals of Rachel Scott

6. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

7. In the Presence of my Enemies by Gracia Burnham

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

9. Joni by Joni Eareckson

10. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

11. The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp

12. Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

13. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr., and Ernestine Carey (some language, I think, our copy has white-out :)

14. The Summons to Become by Rachel Chambers

15. Twice Pardoned by Harold Morris

16. Bruchko by Bruce Olson

I love to read! I'm always looking for more books that help me develop and grow in my faith. Do you have any suggestions? If so, please share them in a comment below.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Should We Avoid Guys?

So...should we avoid guys? I was talking with a friend in her mid-twenties, and she was giving me advice for college. She said that I should not be friends with guys, but that I should politely avoid them. That idea sounded silly to me, but many girls think that way or are taught that way. Then I realized that she hadn't had any brothers, and she really didn't understand guys very well. I have three brothers and no sisters, so I typically connect with guys better than I do with girls. If girls aren't used to guys, they sometimes develop a victim's mindset toward guys, thinking that every guy wants to be friends to get something from them.

1 Timothy 5:1-2 (ESV):

1 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,
2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

Those verses are talking about believers relationships with each other.
Obviously, if we're treating the young men like brothers, we aren't ignoring them (unless you ignore your brothers, which is a bad idea:). Ignoring guys just because they're guys is prejudice, selfish, and silly. But forming relationships with guys is just like any other relationship: you must be careful. There are some creepy guys out there that you shouldn't be hanging out with, and if any guy gets more serious about you than you want him to, you should make it clear to him that you just want to be friends, and if he pushes it, avoid him.

2 Corinthians 6:14 (ESV):

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

This verse is often used for marriage, but it applies to every relationship. Don't make unspiritual people your best friends or mentors, and it's best not to spend too much time with guys who aren't believers. But, in general, enjoy the guys; they liven up our world and make it more fun to live in! Avoiding them makes you appear snobbish and stuck-up. Enjoy friendships, but be careful to avoid crushes on and emotional games with your guy friends. Wait for your special man.

Friday, April 27, 2012

What Will Jesus Think? #2

This is for you, Tamika. I guess I should tell you the rest of my audition story. I came out of that audition feeling like a failure, and they told me that I would get a letter containing their decision by two weeks. Within two business days, I received a letter from them informing me that I had received a $12,000 scholarship! I was very thankful and encouraged. When I stand before Jesus, I won't be auditioning, please don't think I meant that; He has already written my name in the Lamb's Book of Life. But He will reward me based on how I live my life; there are many different crowns in Revelation for specific things. He doesn't give everyone the same thing no matter if they worked or not, but rather He chooses to reward initiative and diligence with something special.

Matthew 25:14-30 (ESV):
14 "For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.
15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more.
17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.
18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.
19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.'
21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'
22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, 'Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.'
23 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed,
25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.'
26 But his master answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?
27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.
29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Luke 19:11-26 (ESV):
11 As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.
12 He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.
13 Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, 'Engage in business until I come.'
14 But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us.'
15 When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.
16 The first came before him, saying, 'Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.'
17 And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.'
18 And the second came, saying, 'Lord, your mina has made five minas.'
19 And he said to him, 'And you are to be over five cities.'
20 Then another came, saying, 'Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief;
21 for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.'
22 He said to him, 'I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow?
23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'
24 And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.'
25 And they said to him, 'Lord, he has ten minas!'
26 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

In these parables, Jesus appears to be talking about heavenly rewards from earthly lifestyles. We need to invest our lives for Him. I don't want to be negative about it, rather I want to be enthusiastic about living for Jesus. I'm sorry for bringing you down, girl.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Missions Minded = Burning Heart

I was on the Lies Young Women Believe blog the other day, and one girl posted a comment about her desire to be a missionary. She said that although her heart is burning with the desire to be on the mission field, she is only a freshmen in high school and hasn't had the opportunity to experience missions. I know exactly how she feels, and I have a feeling many young ladies do too. I replied to her comment, hoping to encourage her, and afterwards I thought that missions would make a great topic to post. I have read so many wonderful books and seen some great movies about missionaries, and after I'm through, my heart gets very heavy from the need for missionaries. I have also seen some very ineffective and even failing missionaries, and after reading about them, my heart gets heavy from the need for spirit-led missionaries. Instead of promoting the Gospel, they leave a bad name for Jesus by living a self-indulgent, undisciplined life. Many people tend to get caught up in the emotional experience of great missionaries' testimonies, and they feel as though they're on a "spiritual high." They think that they've been called to missions, but in reality they are on an emotional roller coaster. Other people choose missions for selfish reasons. They think of how wonderful it would be to live in a different country with a group of churches supporting them for their every need, and all in the name of sharing the Gospel. There are many other reasons as well, but if you think that you may be called to missions, examine your motives and make sure the reason isn't because you need a little excitement in your life. The correct motives for missions are evangelism and service. Full-time foreign missions is a wonderful goal if you have a calling from God. But remember that all Christians are called to full-time missions wherever we are.

Here's my reply to the missions-minded girl:

I also think that local ministries are a great way to get started in missions. I have had a strong interest in missions for many years, but I have been in a situation much like yours: too young, small church with no missions trips, and a dad who doesn't want to lose me. I volunteer at my local right-to-life center, help teach a kid's class at church, and help with the music ministry at church and occasionally nursing homes. Find your gift and use it. There are probably several ministries that would interest you in your area. Sometimes we have to wait for the big stuff, but while we're waiting we need to gain experience and be faithful in the little stuff. My dad gave me some good advice. He said that so many people say they want to be an overseas missionary or a pastor or in some kind of full-time ministry, but they never do anything for God in their life as it is. What is missions about? It's about reaching unsaved people for Christ and discipling Christians. It's about service; sometimes missionaries aren't winning tons of people to the Lord, but rather they are scrubbing toilets and peeling potatoes because that is what they need to do. So my dad told me that if I wanted to be a missionary, I needed to show him my true commitment for real service by doing all I can now; there are so many unsaved and needy people all around us. Pray and ask God what He wants you to do. Maybe He will open the doors for you to be a foreign missionary. But until He does, develop a servant's heart where you are. We can work on it together :) P.S. Practice on your family; they are usually the hardest to serve!

Missions is so important, and if you are called overseas, may God bless your ministry abundantly. Maybe someday I will get the chance to go. Until then, I will try to minister wherever I am.