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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.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

An awesome devotional...

I have been reading My Utmost for his Highest by Oswald Chambers, and it has been absolutely amazing. It has just one page for every day, making it a great addition to your daily Bible reading without overwhelming you. Oswald Chambers manages to fit a very deep and provoking thought into every day, and I have learned so much from him. I definitely recommend the book to all Christians who want to get closer to God. Expect to be challenged to change your lifestyle and thought-process!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Seeking Direction

The whole college planning thing has had me so stressed this year, with all the decisions, deadlines, and life-changing opportunities. Maybe you're going through the same thing or are already worrying about the time you will be going through the same thing. Let me tell you something: worrying has gotten me nothing but stress and backsliding in my relationship with Jesus. When I start to worry, my prayer life slows down or stops completely and I feel absolutely miserable. At different times this school year the pressure built up so much that I would say, "Here, Lord, please take this problem for me, and open the doors that lead me through the path you want me to follow." And that's when my stress would subside. Every time I ask God to handle it instead of me, He handles it very well. He provides the opportunities that I need, but when I try to handle it through my own strength, I fail miserably. So instead of stressing about everything, give it to God and focus on seeking Him. If you seek Him and focus your energy and attention on Him, He will take care of you and give you the very best. You may not agree with all of His decisions at first, but it usually doesn't take long to see the wisdom of His ways, and then you feel so thankful and relieved that you weren't handling it, because you probably would have botched everything up.

Proverbs 3:1-8 ESV (about success):

"1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Craft Idea

My cousin made me a graduation present and gave it to me on Easter. I thought it was a neat idea, so I'm going to share it. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks pretty simple. Start by choosing a picture out of a coloring book; my cousin chose a Precious Moments girl with a graduation outfit on. Next, find some acrylic paints with your desired colors and a photo frame big enough to fit the picture on. Take the glass out of the frame, and put your picture underneath it. Trace the outline of the picture with a permanent marker (she used a black Sharpie) onto the glass. Lastly, fill the traced picture in with acrylic paints and let dry. Put the glass back in the frame with the painted side facing in. I believe she put a textured, colored piece of card stock behind the picture, which really improves the look, I'm sure. I think your picture will be the opposite direction of what it is in the coloring book, so remember that and make any necessary adjustments while tracing.

Update: Top picture is my finished product :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What will Jesus think?

I auditioned for the first time at a local university yesterday, and it was a nerve-wracking process, especially for a naturally-shy person like me. My main instrument is piano, which I have taken for ten years, but I have really wanted to develop my voice, so I auditioned in voice. I have only taken voice lessons a little longer than a month; I felt foolish and stupid when they asked me who my choir director was. I had to tell them that I've never been in choir because I'm homeschooled, and they looked shocked that I would even think of auditioning in voice with so little experience. As I sang the two songs that I had prepared, four professors scribbled notes furiously on their clipboards. And as I sang, I imagined what they must be writing: "student has poor control of airflow," "student's voice is weak", "student has low quality," and "THIS GIRL THINKS SHE CAN SING?!!" Of course, the more I imagined, the worse I got and I rushed through my songs. My mind turned to mush, and I couldn't concentrate on the sight-singing tests. All of the professors were encouraging and polite, even helpful, but I couldn't settle my nerves in front of them because I knew they were judging my abilities and I knew that I was lacking. Afterward, I thought that maybe that is a mild version of what it will be like when we go before Jesus. He is the kindest judge ever, but we will feel so inadequate in His presence. As we stand before Him, we will probably think about all of the things we could have done to be better prepared, and we will be ashamed at our ignorance and lack of experience. So one good thing from that embarrassing audition is that I realized my inadequacy before Jesus. If He came today, I would only be able to hang my head in shame because of my wasted life. I determined to be better prepared, and although I can never be entirely what I should be in this life, I am going to strive to make the biggest difference I can. I want to hear Jesus say to me, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Sunday

Happy Resurrection Sunday! I'm so glad that Jesus is alive. I woke myself up this morning with David Phelps singing "He's Alive." This is a wonderful day to praise Jesus!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

Thank God for saving you from your sins! Today is such a special day to meditate on His sacrifice. Can you believe that? God sacrificed Himself for us, mere human beings that He created. I plan to read the crucifixion/Easter story from all four gospels this weekend and just try to really understand what He went through and what that means to me. Anybody want to try it with me?