Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks

It is the season to be grateful, and I have so many things to be thankful for! Remember on Thanksgiving that you have been blessed with so many things that you take for granted. Don’t let anything slip by you unnoticed! Recognize every blessing and give thanks for it.

Five Things I am Thankful for:

1. My Faith
You have no idea how much my Lord Jesus means to me! Without Him, I would be lost and sad most of the time. Jesus is my Savior, and He guides me every step of the way. Without His forgiveness and purpose, I would be a meaningless mess, but because He has a divine purpose for my life, I am no longer afraid.

2. My Family
Without my family, I would be so very lonely! Dad: Thank you for working so hard to fulfill my needs, and for being an example of Godly love! Mom: Thank you for always being ready to listen. Whether I need advice or just to vent, I am so grateful for you! Noah: Thank you for being such a fun brother. I love you so much, and want to be your best friend forever! Lexi: I have so much fun playing dress up and dolls with you. Let’s keep our relationship strong!

3. Dance
There are so many things that could prevent me from dancing, but God has allowed me to keep worshiping Him through dance. I love all my teachers and thank them for helping me grow in my technique and strength. May I always dance for God, and not let my focus be shifted from Him!

4. My job
I love my job, even if it is sometimes hard. The values and lessons I have learned through it have taught me so much. I have learned how to be a gracious, smiling server, even when the grumpiest of people comes my way. Thank you, Lord, for my job!

5. Being Homeschooled
What a blessing it is to be able to escape all the influences and distractions that teens face at public school. Not only can I go my own pace and learn everything well, but I can use curricula that gives God credit for being the Creator of the universe. Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity!

I give God the glory for all of my blessings, and want to love and serve Him all of my days. What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I, Judas

I have always disliked the story of Judas Iscariot in the Bible. Judas started out as a close follower of Christ, but in the end betrayed Jesus into the hands of an angry mob who crucified God’s son on the cross. Jesus lost His life and spent three days in Hell because Judas wanted thirty pieces of silver. Judas, overcome by guilt, hanged himself. This story is depressing and leaves no hope for Judas Iscariot in the end.

There are many characters in the Bible who choose money over good intentions. Ananias and Saphira are another example of people who choose money over truth and life. They, however, were not overcome with guilt, but were struck down by God because of their lying, greedy ways.

It occurred to me several Sundays ago while worshiping that I am no better than Judas, Ananias, or Saphira. Every time I choose my ways over God’s ways, I am betraying Jesus. I am a traitor and a liar, and I deserve the same ends that Ananias, Saphira, and Judas met. Why has God allowed me to live when I should be struck down for my evil ways? Why has God given me grace?

The answer comes in the name of Jesus Christ. Because I have repented of my many sins and chosen to place my hope in Jesus, my sins are forgiven, and I am given eternal life. Jesus provides the only lasting hope in this world, and it can be obtained by everyone. God gives hope to all who choose to believe and live their lives according to His ways.

Deuteronomy 30: 19-20 says, “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.” Choosing God means choosing life! I do not want to be like Judas and let myself be overcome by evil. Judas chose suicide instead of redemption. Although what he did was of the utmost evil, God would have forgiven and washed him clean if he had chosen to repent. Instead, Judas ended his own life out of grief and guilt without accepting God’s redeeming love.

Judas may have chosen death, but I have chosen life in Jesus. Instead of letting my sins overcome me, I have let Jesus take them away. Because God sent His only son to die on the cross, my sins can be washed away and I can have eternal life in heaven with the other believers who have chosen the free gift of life.

Although I started out like Judas, I have been redeemed. I, Judas, was a traitor and a liar. I, Judas, sinned often. I, Judas, betrayed my Lord every time I chose the world’s ways over God’s ways. I, Judas, have chosen God’s ways. I, Judas, will be given a new name when I reach my heavenly reward. I, Judas, no longer bend to the world’s ways. Although I still stumble, I am covered by God’s love.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Five Things I Have Learned (while working at a fast food restaurant!)

In May, I interviewed twice for a job at a Christian fast food restaurant. I was in need of a job, and this seemed like a perfect situation. God blessed me with the job, and I have enjoyed it immensely. Throughout this new experience, I have learned many things; some good, some bad.

#1 – Parent’s with Children

Mom’s and Dad’s with Children are very appreciative when you carry their food to their table. This is a rule at my company, and I have gotten much gratitude from overwhelmed parents because of it. When a mom walks in with children, we automatically tell them that they can take a seat and we will bring it to their table. I have even been asked by one dad if I would watch his kids for a few minutes while he went back to the car to look for his wallet!

#2 – Efforts of the Customers

I have encountered many cranky, cantankerous customers, and I certainly can’t wait until I no longer have to deal with them. Every now and then, however, a customer will make a point to call me by name and ask how I am doing. It doesn’t matter if they know me or not, they just know that I make an effort to be cheerful and welcoming, so they try to reciprocate the feeling. It makes my day when someone makes a point to ask how I am doing… Most people tend to want to get through ordering right away, instead of be polite and friendly.

#3 – Two Different Attitudes

There are two kinds of people that come to my register: those who are impatient and difficult, and those who are the exact opposite. I love dealing with customers who are polite, but I dread dealing with someone who is impatient. I try to be sweet and calm with everyone, but let me tell you, it is NOT always easy! I am not the fastest employee (although I do try), and I have had many people ask me what the holdup is with their order. I had one lady tell me to make her ice cream “faster next time!” I always feel terrible after encounters like this, and make sure to do better. It is obvious that people either choose to be patient and willing to wait, or demanding and unreasonable. It’s no wonder why people can be so cranky!

#4 – Messed Up Orders

I have been known on occasion to mess orders up. I do not do it on purpose, and it is not always my fault, but it has been known to happen. My company’s policy is to assume that the customer is always right, even when it is obvious that they are not. One day, I messed up a lady’s order and she asked to speak with the manager. I was extremely anxious, but my manager came over to me, explained the situation, and asked for my side of the story. Thankfully, I did not get into any trouble (it wasn’t even my fault), but the lady was extremely angry with me. Several weeks ago, another woman’s order got overlooked, and she waited around for ten minutes. I finally looked up and realized that she had not gotten her food. I went over to her and apologized profusely, afraid that she would be very angry, and she just looked at me and said, “It’s alright, honey! I’m not going to bite you! I’ll be coming back again, don’t you worry.” I was extremely grateful, and finally made her order right, but I was absolutely thrilled that she was not angry. It is very difficult to work with upset customers, but patient customers are truly a blessing!

#5 – Hard Work Pays Off

I love my job, and dearly want to keep it through college, so I have made a point to always work hard. Several of my managers have complimented me on always keeping busy, and I have maintained a perfect change count since I have worked there. The owner and operator of my store once told me I was amazing. Because I have dedicated myself to working hard and not being lazy, God has blessed me. I am not afraid of being fired, because I know my managers and operator appreciate my work. When a manager corrects me, I take it to heart and make an earnest effort to fix it, instead of ignore it.

I have learned so much through my job, and look forward to working because of the environment and opportunities to do great things for God. Although it can sometimes be difficult, I enjoy the new experiences and challenges that it brings.