Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ready for Review

This week I have been working extra hard to get my graphic design portfolio ready for review. Why am I doing this? It’s simple. I have to have two portfolio reviews done in order to qualify to participate in portfolio day and I have to participate in portfolio review.

Right now I am in the process of finding every piece of artwork I have done and every single photograph that I have taken and compiling them into a massive collection of works. Then I will go through and cut all the items that are absolutely atrocious and the ones that I would rather die than show to the professors conducted my review interviews. The rest will all go for evaluation. Then I will get the plain truth. Am I good enough?

I think this is the same question we ask God. We stock pile all the good things that we do for God and we present them to Him and say, “Look what I’ve done!” and we wait for a cosmic pat on the back and a stamp of approval. Am I good enough, God? Will you sign off on me?
That’s not how God works. He doesn’t evaluate us based on performance or merit or talent or lack of talent. He evaluates on one basis. Do we meet His one requirement? I don’t know. Have you asked Jesus to come and forgive your sins and be an active part of your life? Yes, that’s awesome! You pass! Anything else you do is just a compliment to the fact that you have Christ in your life. No, then you better re-evaluate your spiritual portfolio. Without that key piece you will never get a seal of approval and you will never exhibit in heaven. If you want in then you have to meet the requirements. God is standing there waiting to accept you, but first you must accept His Son.

CLICK HERE to Learn How to Become a Christian.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Duck Tales

I don’t know if you have ever done anything even a little bit crazy, but let me tell you that I have. The silliest thing is that it was all over something so small. Last Friday, Jimmy and I went to Breadeaux with two of the college couples. Jimmy really loves Breadeaux and he hadn’t had it for quite some time and we wanted to do something special so we thought – Breadeaux it is!

Now if you don’t know, Breadeaux is French style pizza and they specialize in small towns, but we live in Saint Louis. So the nearest Breadeaux is about 45 minutes from our house. SO we all got in the car and took a drive to Milstadt, Illinois, just for pizza. I know crazy! Once we were in town we passed Happy Days Icecream. We figured we had come this far, why not have some dessert. After dinner we stopped to get icecream, and that’s when I saw them…

Cute. Adorable. Tiny. Miniature. Rubber Ducks! Shaina, Shelby, and I instantly fell in love! We each purchased a couple of ducks from the vending machine and gave them cute little nicknames. I got Cow Duck (white with brown spots) and Edward Cullen Duck (Black with White Fangs) that day. They even rode on the dashboard all the way home!

The thing is… When you find something so cute and adorable and you fall in love then you are always going to want more. Therefore, when I discovered another mini-duck vending machine in Bowling Green, Missouri, on my way home from visiting my sister at Hannibal LaGrange College, I knew my duck family needed a few more members. Yeah, I bought three more!

Still this wasn’t the craziest thing that happened! On Sunday, the couples were all sitting around and we were talking about all the fun we had had on Friday and I was showing the girls the new ducks I bought on Saturday and then Shelby decided we should drive to Milstadt again just to buy more ducks! Yep. We got in the car, drove 45 minutes, ate Breadeaux, had icecream, and bought more mini-ducks!

I now have 8 mini-ducks sitting on top of my computer monitor at home. I still think they are cute and adorable, but I can’t believe the extra effort I put into getting the last three ducks. Would I have put that kind of extra effort into other areas of my life? Or do I waste it on things that have no eternal importance? Not to say that it’s not okay to have fun and be crazy and go on wild duck chases, but what I am saying is that I need to make sure that I don’t lose out on things that are more important because I am too busy chasing rubber ducks.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Take Heart

Lately it’s been day after day of stress, pain, and heartache. Things are out of control and seem utterly hopeless. Over time I have become heartsick. Have you ever had days where you just can’t seem to see the end of your problems? That’s where I am right now.

So what do you do when you are heartsick?

I think there are only two options: give up or fight.

Giving up is easy. You just shut down mentally, physically, and/or emotionally. You don’t care anymore. You simply give up. Now it’s someone else’s problem so who cares what the outcome is going to be.

Fighting is the hardest thing to do. You have to make a constant choice to keep up the good fight. What do you do when you don’t think that you can stand it even one more second? Paul gives us the answer in Ephesians 613-14a “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm…” As Christians we are called to trust and obey. We all know the song…Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. It’s true. We must trust that God will bring us through and we have to obey Him by daily putting on the armor of God and standing firm against the enemy.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that we are weak and we are human. Too often we trust in ourselves rather than trusting in God. We obey our desires rather than seeking the heart of God. We give up instead of standing and fighting until we can’t fight anymore and then keep going. Just because you have given up or failed in the past doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing that. Break the pattern. Trust God. Be more than a conqueror. Take heart.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29

God won’t leave you to fight on your own. He will give you strength. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, you are walking a fine line between giving up and finding the determination to continue. Yes, sometimes we all fall. Yes, God will pick you back up!

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm…” Ephesians 6:13-14a

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Back to School

School time again! The children groan and I rejoice. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE school! I know…I’m weird. Even as a child, I was excited for summer but two weeks in I was ready for school to begin again. I have an undying curiosity and thirst for knowledge. I think that’s part of the reason I enjoy reading as much as I do (although I have to admit I squander that passion by primarily reading fiction).

A year ago, I returned to college and began taking classes part-time while I worked full-time. This semester I have three classes, and as I prepared for my class tonight I had a thought. God wants us to be lifetime students. What?! Yuck! Eew. You’ve got to be kidding me! No way! No. It’s true. God wants us to be lifetime students.

In 2 Timothy 2:15 (nasb) it says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” In the King James translation this verse begins with the word study. God wants us to have good study skills when it comes to reading, learning, and remembering His word. We don’t want to fail the tests of life because we haven’t spent enough time studying the material! In Psalm 119:11 the psalmist wrote, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” The best way to hide God’s word in your heart is through reading it, studying it, and memorizing it.

I know being a lifetime student doesn’t appeal to everyone, but there are so many benefits to being a student of God’s word! Don’t let your own dislike for school to rob you of the lifelong blessings that come from seeking the face of God through studying His word. Start today and never stop studying!