Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Highest Goal

What are you doing with your life?

Are you using it to help or support someone in need?

Are you just waiting around for adventure to come to you?

What are you doing with your life?

I've been noticing lately, that my life hasn't been much of a story... yet. I haven't let it be. I know a few of you who read my blog are younger than me - let this be a lesson to you - do something NOW. Go and change someone's life by the way you live. Go, without fear, into the world and speak your convictions. Give your whole heart to the Lord and let Him work in a miraculous way in your life NOW. I've only been saved for a year (May 1st, 2008 - YEAH!!!) and I'm just now realizing that life is not about what the world has to offer you, it's about what you give to it. 2 Corinthians 12:15 says "For I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved."

There is so much to occupy ourselves with - talents, searching for the "one", pampering ourselves (manicures, plastic surgery.... yeah right), world wide fame - but that's what just about everyone seeks. And you know what they all find? It's not worth it. What about a higher goal? Honour, dignity, service, strength. Strength sounds pretty basic, but are you strong? Do you stand for what you believe? Do you love it enough to die for it? "I will very gladly spend and be spent for you." Would we serve a cause greater than us? There IS a cause greater than us. The cause of Christ. Would you give yourself to a people - devote yourself to them - even if they hated you for it? Jesus did that. He gave himself abundantly to us, above and beyond, and we nailed Him to the cross. So, the bottom line is are you serving yourself, or somehting greater than you?

I ask again, what are your goals? What are you aiming for? An average spot in the game of life? A reasonable pay, good food, nice house and car, football games, a beautiful wife and 1 or 2 kids? Maybe your'e aiming higher - trying out for the Nobel Peace Prize? Gimme a break. Global warming won't happen til the tribulation - and you can't help!! Aim high, but not for yourself. I've said it again and again and you still haven't gotten it!!! (haha)

But, maybe your'e a Christian, trying to be all you can be for the Lord, yet you feel you don't deserve the best God can offer? Let me put it this way - do you feel that you don't deserve the best husband/wife God has planned for you? Like maybe you don't deserve them... Or that you aren't good enough to be called into the ministry? Again - the best God can offer... He saved you, and made you perfectly whole, white as snow. He did His best on renewing yor soul - to perfection through Jesus Christ, and now you say you don't deserve God's best? God's best is something He wants to give you, but you need to give Him your best. Don't be stubborn or prideful (yeah, it's pride). Humble yourself and aim higher than you ever have in expectations and prayer. There was a reason God wrote Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." That is your promise to claim if you are a child of God, who never changes, who is merciful to the end. Stop beating yourself up and claim it! Don't settle for anything average. Expect the best - the very best. But give the Lord your best, also. The highest goal. The hardest to reach, but so worth it. Don't give your life to average things - God wants to give you, His child, the best. Because He loves you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Hero

"There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up." Proverbs 30:29-31

Well, my hero is Jesus Christ!!! No hard thinking to do on that point. But I also have an earthly hero. It's my Dad. Do you know anyone who reminds you of a king? My Dad reminds me of a king. He's wise and humble, meek and understanding, but he also rules his home well and demands the respect due to him. Mom is his "queen" and my siblings and I are the princes/princesses - though we don't act exactly noble sometimes. And we "princesses" are NOT like the pink-on-everything, whiny, "Daddy please this" or "Daddy please that", spoiled little girls. My Dad teaches us to conduct ourselves with dignity and to hold ourselves to the highest standard possible - to God's standards.

My father is like the king in Proverbs 30 - against whom there is no rising up. When his mind is made up, it's final and no one's going to change it. When his children act disrespectfully towards him or any other adult, we get due punishment (of course, I'm just a little angel - it never happens to me.... watch, I'm probably speaking too soon. But anyway...). Y'all know the main reason why my Dad is my hero? He watches out for me and even when I think he's being unfair, he's really being too fair. He shows me the right path to take instead of letting me learn the hard way. Sometimes I hurt him and my Mom in the mistakes I make, but they never turn me away - they welcome me into the safe circle of their counsel. My Dad serves God with all his being and tries to be all he can be for God. My Dad's not perfect, he knows it, and I think that makes him even more of a humble person, and he gains the respect of others because of it. He hasn't always had my respect, though he's always deserved it, and I haven't always had all his trust - but God has a hand in every decision of his, and it keeps us safe and able as a whole family. I'm so glad my father listens to God and obeys Him - even when he may be afraid. My Dad's obedience to the Lord is such a wonderful example to me and my siblings. We've been through so much as a family, but he's kept trusting the Lord through all of it. And the Lord has blessed us all by showing my Dad more and more though the Word.

I just wanted to encourage y'all to pray for your fathers - the ruler of your home. Does God rule him and his heart? Does he protect you and listen to you? My Dad and I haven't always been close, but as we both grow in the Lord, we grow closer to each other. It's a blessing and it's vital in times like these. Pray for your father. Support him and encourage him. But most of all, pray for him.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lookin' Out for this Maiden

It amazes me how brothers and sisters are so cold towards each other these days. Then again, some siblings unite into so great a pact that they (if they were geniuses) could take over the world together! But they unite in mischief, of course. Not a good combination - unity w/ mischief in mind. (hehe - sounds like me and my brother...) But rarely do you see blood-brothers and sisters naturally united and close enough to share secrets and thoughts and to look out for one another. My brother and I share this kind of relationship. So many people see it as weird, but they do admit that it's cool to see... and I know it's what everyone would secretly want for themselves.

My brother and I are similar - we're both stubborn, we like to joke around, we love the country and can't stand the city (thank goodness we live in "town" and not a BIG bustling city), we like Celtic music, we both agree that Texas is the best state in America, and the best place in the world, we both love to be around friends and family in a big group and have a cook-out or fellowship at the church. But we have some differences, too - like he hates sandals (boots are his thing) and I like flip-flops, he can't wait to grow up and get out on his own but I could be content just staying with Mom and Dad for a few more years.... we have our differences. But we get along really well 98% of the time. The one thing I like a lot about our relationship is that we look out for each other. When a girl I don't like is flirting with my brother, she gets the boot - from me. And when a guy that my brother doesn't like flirts with me he gets the boot from Ian. Now, my brother is the quiet type, so when he speaks out like that, guys know he means business. I'm so grateful that we have that trust in our brother/sister relationship. We need to build trust-relationships with our siblings. If you're getting into any kind of relationship with someone outside your family, they could see things you can't, and know things you don't, just by being around the person for a few minutes. Or if you're framed for anything, they could bail you out. But best of all, girls, your brothers can protect you from guys who are not the best for you. And if you'll trust them, it will serve you well. You could do them a favour as well and make sure they don't fall for any silly, clamorous girls.

Girls, we are maidens - young, pure maidens. Don't let that be taken away because of your stubborn pride and unwillingness to listen to your brother's advice. Let them protect you, as well as your father. Build trust with one another, so that you can have some one to live with and learn from and have fun with while you're not married!!! It's definitely not a 21st century thought, but it is a good one!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm Back!!!

I got back from camp Saturday evening.... and it started pouring down rain while we were unloading the trailer!!! Oh wow, I had such an amazing time!!! I made new friends, I saw and lived in a beautiful land for 5 days, and best of all, God worked in my life. Five people from my church got saved!!! (They accepted Jesus' saving power into their lives.) Ü I was so happy because of their salvation, and I was encouraged many times throughout the week. I learned a lot about myself, too. God opened up my eyes to many, many things about my heart that I needed to get right. I was able to encourage brothers and sisters in the faith, and they encouraged me too.

The best message was the last message. Bro. Bill Marshall preached from 2 Samuel 23 about David's mighty men. Eleazar was a man who fought in a battle for the Lord until he was weary, and kept going! It was explained that he had been so "lost in the battle" that in the end, his hands clave unto his sword, and they had to pry his fingers away from it. Talk about battle severity! I can imagine him, eyes wide and focused on a battle that had already ended, (maybe ready for more?) and friends helping him relax on the blood-stained field. Bro. Marshall also talked about how the Lord won the battle, as it says in the Bible. Not Eleazar - God won!!! I realized that until I surrendered everything in my whole being to the Lord, I couldn't fight and win anything because the battle wouldn't be God's anyway. I hadn't released it to Him. So I grabbed a sweet lady from my church and she prayed with me and encouraged me.... I feel much better now. Ü When I asked the people who got saved how they felt, they gave me a relaxed smile and sighed, "Better!" One of them knew that he knew it all in his head, but he did not know for sure in his heart. You can know Jesus in your head and not have Him in your heart, y'all. I know who the President is, but I don't know him personally. Do you know Jesus personally, and not just know who He is? Do you know him as you personal Saviour? There's more to say, like the scenery was beautiful!!! It was cold aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllll week, though. Except for a couple warm afternoons! There are huge, gigantic rocks that I and my friends from church climbed on every day, and sat and talked while eating ice cream. Other times, we hiked, ran around camp, played basketball (while I just watched - haha), or sat and listened to a sermon. There's more things I'm gonna be sharing with y'all, but not now....

I still miss my cousins ...... :( But it's OK, I'll live (maybe) hehe! Yesterday we worked all day in our kitchen - painting. And today we'll do the same thing - paint. But then tonight my family and I are going to a BBQ with out church. It's soooooooooooo fun, I love get-togethers like that! There will be football, softball, FOOD and other things to do, plus fellowship... and that's the sweetest part of all!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tomorrow - Joy and Sadness... Smiles and Tears

Yes, happiness and sadness will come tomorrow. I've never understood how the heart can hold so much joy, but sadness at the same time. We've all felt these feelings before, and tomorrow, I'll feel it again........ My cousins from North Carolina (NC's still the South, ya'll - we discussed that yesterday) have been here since late Wednesday night and my family has spent Thursday and Friday with them, will probably spend tonight with them, and then they'll come to our church tomorrow. We have had the most AMAZING time! We haven't gotten to see eachother for maybe...... 3 or 4 years??? We've already become so close - all of us - and I'm sittin' back thanking God every single day for such wonderful cousins! There's 7 of them, and then me and my sibings make 4, so 11 altogther!!! We've bonded so much over the past 2 days, and then tomorrow afternoon, there will be a tearful, sad good-bye to all of them as I simultaneously, and happily, get on the church van with my brother to go to camp. I feel like they're our real brothers and sisters! All of them! They'll be leaving Tuesday, so me and my brother won't get to see them again until the next time they come. But it won't be too long - either later this year, or half of next summer!!!!! So, there's one other thing to be happy about!!!! Count your blessings, Erica... Trust me, I am. I have a million!!!! My cousin Aubrey and I are so similar! A few differences here and there, but we're very alike! She's younger than me and taller - 2 or 3 inches taller!!!! It makes me feel like an elf, I mean, her two older brothers are taller than me, but they're also younger than me! So, just a fill-in for the week that's coming - I won't be posting til I get back. Ü Please pray for their journey back to NC and me and my brother's journey to and from camp with our church. Thanks y'all!!

My piano recital was Thursday - and to be honest, I had a wonderful, almost enchanting expirience! For the first time, I did the prelude music, then turned the pages for my piano teacher playing the flute and this guy playing the guitar (no big deal turning pages, but it was my first time!), and then played my piece Romance by Lizst, then my piano teacher played the flute and I played piano to Nocturne by Lovland (there's words to it, but we decided to leave that out), and then another student of hers and I played Fantasy (a duet) by Timothy Brown. The whole thing was like magic. Normally, I hate recitals, but this time.....

...................til next week!!!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thoughts of......... Many Things

Y'all will have to forgive me for changing the blog so much. I'm just experimenting!!!!

I'm soooooooooooooooooo excited!!! Why? I'm going to camp!!! My church camp is in Colorado in the mountains...... oh man, I love it! I just love the mountains - almost as much as I love the beach. But Texas is "God's country" as we call it down here, and it is better than any place!!! I'm just so excited. Me and four of the girls in my youth group are going to be singing up there, a song called "I'm Still Amazed". It's a (sort of) fast, and definitely joyful song about how amazing it is that the Lord would do all he did for a horrible sinner like me. Y'all, if you knew my past, you'd be shocked at how I've changed - my speech, my thoughts, my actions - everything!!! Maybe I'll put my full-throttle testimony on here one of these days. I say full-throttle, because it's REALLY (well, maybe not REALLY) long!!! At camp, I get to give a devotion in our cabin, and I'm totally ready for that, but I'm nervous........ I've never given a devotion before. I'll post about it when I get back from camp. We're all going to leave after church, Sunday morning, and we'll be back Saturday. I think we're taking..... 58 kids approximately??? Truly, I'm not quite sure. But that's not counting adults or little kids. Up at camp, there's horse-back rides (but I might not do that, cuz it's just the little trail-riding thing and you have to wear helmets and the whole nine yards... so yeah) and there's a snack stand (which I won't be going to much, unless for water - I'm healthy! gotta stay healthy - no candy bars! well, maybe a Reese's or chocolate...), there's also a gift shop, a zip-line, hiking trips, sports, singing competitions, and a few other stuff. I'm going to get some disposable cameras and just use those up there - don't wanna chance my precious camera's existence! I can tell you one thing I won't be doing! I'm not going to meet anybody special (like some giddy girls who do go for that reason)! Anyway, I'm sooooooooooo excited!!!(have I mentioned that yet!?) I love camp, because you're surrounded by believers who just want to be with God on the mountain top. It truly is a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by God's awesome design of nature. The strong and jagged cliffs, and majestic trees that seem to whisper in the wind at night..... all this praises the Lord's name. Psalm 104 talks a lot about creation. Oh, I love it. Nature does praise the Lord. If nature, not able to talk or see, walk or shout, praises the Lord just because it's natural, wouldn't we also need to praise the Lord? He gave us mouths to praise him.... gave us eyes to see his miracles and read his Word.... our whole being, everything about our bodies ,was designed to praise the Lord in some way. It's so cool, and it makes God be shown all the more powerful!!