31 January 2012

editing and iron

In my English Composition class, we have do peer reviews for our essays. I haven't always been a fan of peer editing even though I've been doing it for nearly eight years. Today, one of my classmates and I were talking about peer editing and how we both liked a review that ripped our paper up rather than a review that was nice. Yeah, it sometimes hurts my feelings to see all of the problems that the reviewer wrote down, but I know without a doubt that my essay gets better because of the criticism.

It got me thinking at how similar that it is to my faith and having my brothers and sisters in Christ hold me accountable. Accountability can often seem like a negative thing. But God calls us to help each other grow closer to Him. Proverbs 27:17 says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." That is kinda like what a peer review does, it sharpens your essay.

So, may God use your brothers and sisters in Christ to sharpen your faith and may God use you to sharpen the faith of your brothers and sisters.

30 January 2012

potty-training and persevering

Do you ever feel like all of your hard work is for nothing? My mom and I have had several experiences of that today between a macbook and potty-training.

Maybe how we react to those situations that interrupt our lives reveals what our faith is like. Maybe if our foundation is strong, instead of getting discouraged and giving up, we would get up and try again, trusting that God is in control. Perseverance is hard work! And sometimes it seems like a near impossible task! Between distractions and lack of focus, it is really easy to wander off and give up. Yet when we are in communication with God, he will give us the strength and focus to persevere through the tough stuff.

29 January 2012

paul and vision

Today's talk at Legacy Chapel was the last in a series on personal vision. It was a really awesome series and I'll probably talk more about what I've learned from it at some point in the future.

Today, we focused on Saul who became Paul. The main point was that God has an exact location for your vision. There is a specific place where God wants you. In Acts 9, God speaks to Ananias and tells him to go to a specific location. There he will find Saul who is waiting for him.

The absolute coolest point that stood out for me was that God used Ananias to bring Saul/Paul's healing. If not for Ananias, Paul wouldn't have fulfilled his vision, he wouldn't have transformed the Christian faith. God uses ordinary people like Ananias for His Kingdom purpose. He blessed Ananias and Saul/Paul simultaneously! How cool is that!

So get up and go! Go to the exact location where God is calling you! Go!

15 January 2012

an illustration and God's best

I was given this by one of my wonderful sisters and I thought I would share it. It's such a good illustration of what God wants for us, genuine beauty.
The Pearl Necklace: Author Unknown 
A cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. "Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!"
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face. "A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from grandma."
As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.
Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had abubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?"
"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess-- the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite."
"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"
" Daddy, you know I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."
"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. "What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?"
Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And, when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of beautiful genuine pearls. He had had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.
What imitations are we holding onto that stops us from receiving God's genuine treasures?

May you be like the little girl and be able to let go of what we hold closest to your heart. May you experience the joy that comes with letting go and receiving God's treasures.

Abba, I pray that I would  not continue to hold on to the imitations in my life. Help me to remember that you have the absolute best for me and it's worth the sacrifice of surrendering my all to you.