Thursday, February 18, 2010

Runner, Run On!

This blog is simply notes from a message one of my teachers spoke on when I attended IBC. Lately I have been starting to go through my old textbook and class notes and am using them some to study for the Bible class I teach at TCA. I also recently came across all the sermon notes I’d kept and have been reading through them some in my devotional time. (When attending there I attended 3 services a week & 2 chapels (heard 2 messages, usually by students in each chapel)…you can just imagine how many notes I have!)

I am very much enjoying reading through them though…it’s like having a collection of devotionals written mostly by people I know. :o) Anyway, the following is something Bro. Brown spoke on in chapel in November of ’01. I found it very encouraging and really like the approach he took. This is straight out of my notes; nothing changed or edited…just thought I’d share some food for thought.

1 Cor. 9:24

People often begin something but never see it to completion—making up an excuse to justify their failure.

Get in the race & run!!!

Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to just begin a race.
---Every race has a starting point.

Acts 9:5 – This is where Paul’s race began.

The race is not easy.
You will get tired, weary, & uneasy.

Sometimes training for a race is long, difficult, & inconvenient.

Training takes time, “eating” only certain things.

Athletes spend tons of time training for a one time event.
The training is actually part of the race.---We need to be prepared.

A runner needs to be careful not to carry excess weight.
We must have the right equipment & none of what we don’t need.
---Does a runner wear a weight?

II Timothy 2:15

Training is necessary.

Your heart must be set for the long haul.

Many times the person who wins the race is the one that just keeps putting one foot in front of the other.

(Poem “Don’t You Quit”)

Every Christian is Involved in 2 Races: 1) The Race for Salvation
2) The Race of Your Ministry

Don’t base your calling on other people’s responses to your calling!

Persistence is the key to ministry.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Want to Love God More

Last night I had "dorm duty" also known as "relief" here at TCM. To inquiring minds that have no idea what that is: dorm duty is basically where staff who are not houseparents (houseparents being the people who live with the kids on a full time basis) relieve the houseparents by filling in for them on their days off. "Dorm duty" is split up into various shifts and we are assigned so many shifts a month. Right now we all are doing quite a few, due to being short houseparents for one dorm. Hopefully God will take care of that problem in the near future. :o)

So, basically, anyone over a dorm plays the role of parent to that dorm for whatever time period they are there..from making sure the kids are taken care of and not doing things they shouldn't do, to making sure their chores are done, they are fed,have taken their meds if needed,all laundry is done, and that everything is clean and in perfect shape for when the next shift arrives. Most dorms have 8-10 kids. So..that's what I've been doing the last 2 Saturday evenings and will be doing the next one.

The dorm I had last night was mostly Sr. High school age girls and an 8 year old. When it came time for bed for the 8 year old, I helped her get ready, tucked her in,turned the lamp on, said her prayer with her, told her good night, and closed the door halfway after turning the light out.

About 30 minutes later I came back by. She was lying in bed sobbing. I asked her what was wrong. Her reply: "I want my Momma." She continued to sob and say this. Luckily, I was actually on top of things at that moment. Most all of the house cleaning was done and the older girls were watching a movie I had brought (Little Women), so I was able to stay with her for a while. When I came in she was sitting up, so I tucked her back in, put my arm around her and laid there while she continued to cry and say that she wanted her mom. I had no idea what to do to console this little girl.

When you're babysitting you can always say, "she'll be home soon!" or "let's call her!" I know very little about this little girl, but I'm pretty sure her mom is not dead; however, apparently, though, her bad decisions had led to her little girl's tears that night.

Not knowing what else to do, I prayed over her and began singing to her. I didn't know what to sing...nothing seemed to come to mind. Finally I began, "I love you Lord and I lift my voice, to worship you Oh my soul, rejoice. Take joy my king, in what you hear, let it be a sweet sweet sound in your ear." Not exactly a kid's song, but I always feel peace when I sing it. After a while her body stopped shaking from her sobbing and she drifted off to sleep.

I sat there for a few minutes, not wanting to risk waking her up, thinking about how this little innocent girl didn't deserve this. Most people have experienced nights crying themselves to sleep; however, no one deserves them. Especially children.

My pastor preached once about getting out of God's order, (I think I may have mentioned this in a previous blog?)and how when that happens it causes chaos. When whatever decisions were made, that ended with this little girl crying herself to sleep, I'm sure a picture of this little girl crying herself to sleep did not pop into that parent's mind. Whether it was an illicit drug taken, the choice to live with an abusive boyfriend, hitting or verbally abusing a child, etc. The person who made that decision most likely did not think "this is what's going to happen and I don't care." They lived in the moment; not considering what that meant for the future. A future that belonged to not just them, but their children as well.

Today Bro. Judd preached on "Loving God More". Do you love God more than anything and anyone? If you do than you should never have to worry about getting out of God's order, it's when this answer becomes compromised that trouble results. I personally have a calling on my life that I know involves living away from my family. Sometimes accepting and embracing this is not an easy thing. However, God's word tells me:

And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. ~Luke 14:25-27

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. ~Matthew 19:29

When God's word speaks; we have to accept. It can't be sugar coated or made to fit our own agenda.

Back to the dorm...
When I became convinced that the little girl I was watching was sound asleep, I slowly got up, hoping not to wake her; however, she did wake up. I was then worried she was going to bust out crying again. Instead, she asked me for a hug and told me goodnight. Peace is precious. Especially when it's from God.

So, you may be wondering, what does this little girl have to do with loving God more? Well, most of the kids that come to the mansion are somehow connected to Pentecost. Either their parents are or were Pentecostal at one time or a grandparent or close relative usually is. That's typically how people find out about The Mansion. Therefore, there's a very good chance this little girl's Mom has known God, but has chosen to serve something or someone else instead, not only putting it ahead of God, but her daughter as well.

So, who or what do you love more? Is God at the top of your list? Above careers. Above people? Above your personal plans and desires? Above people's plans and desires for you? Above money? Above yourself?

We sang the song below at church today. It's one of my favorites. On this Valentine's Day, this is my desire. I want to "Love God More" and draw closer and closer to Him everyday.

The More I Seek You

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sit Still

Something that I found quite humorous occurred in one of my classes today. While teaching (actually, at this time reading) in my Biology class about mammals, a new student raised his hand, said, "I know this is random but..." and asked his question. His question was about tornadoes, not animals. One of the posters on the classroom wall has a chart about where tornadoes tend to occur and at what time of year they are most likely to occur. Apparently, he was busy staring at this poster, almost too far away for him to even be able to read, while I was reading about mammals.

Some days this might annoy me. This particular day I decided to let it slide and let conversation ensue for a few minutes, mainly because I found it so amusing. You see, this student asked this question with fear in his eyes. This Senior, who is from near a very large city in the northeast, from my understanding was mixed up in the gang world. I'm pretty sure we are pretty much temporarily doubling as his "protection agency". This "gangster" scared of tornadoes.

His question was if they get tornadoes in Tupelo. The other students, of course, were quick to reply, in almost a bragging sense, that they do. They went on to tell random stories of buildings blown away, people killed, etc...the more they talked the more his eyes widened. It was all I could do not to start laughing. Here, the new "cool guy" on campus (per some of the students already starting to try to look like him in fashion sense, etc) was starting to freak out because he doesn't want to die in a tornado. No doubt, he has probably seen many bullets fly, but a tornado? God forbid.

I quickly assured him that everyone he had met who lived there had probably survived a tornado, if they'd lived there at least a year, so he had nothing to worry about. He, of course, referred to the one local death one of the kids had mentioned (not even sure it was true) and said, "Yes, but I don't want to be the one that dies!" I once again told him he had nothing to worry about, and quickly steered the class back on course.

It made me wonder often are we like this? God brings us through one crisis after another (not sure about this? if you're still here, he's brought or is bringing you through) and yet we find ourselves worrying about every little thing. Worrying about it until it becomes way bigger than it is. And forgetting that even if it were truly a mountain, God could move it.

Recently I was reading a book that Sis. Joy Haney wrote. She spoke of how one time her and her husband were going through a very rough time in their lives and that God spoke to her one day that she must remember that, no matter the situation "God is in charge!" Ruth 3:18 also came to her mind: "Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall".

Don't dream up worse case scenarios. Don't throw in the towel before the last round. Remember: You have God on your side. Your job is to have faith and let Him work. Hear that? Let HIM work. Don't strategize, manipulate, or try to speed up the process. Trust. Have Faith. Live a Godly life, day in and day out.

God spoke to me last year through a very sweet and godly lady that I have desires and dreams and that God has even greater ones for me. I've came a very long way in the last few years at embracing some of the desires and dreams it appears God has for me, but I still believe even now that they are even greater than I can imagine. And I'm holding Him to it. Because that's exactly what He wants me to do.

I've seen what He's done in the past. And that gives me hope for what He will do in the future. My God has never failed. And He never will.