Devotions the Week Vol. 4

November 20, 2015

Welcome back! Today, I wanted to do a recap of my church retreat weekend that I attended last week. Before I start, you may have noticed my blog got a little face lift. Thanks to a template from Kotryna Bass, and a few tips I learned from my good friend Google, my blog looks much better. I love the new redesign and touches. Okay, back to the point. Let me say! It was amazing! The sessions, worship, sermons, community service, and connecting with my small group more was so much fun and eye opening. I wanted to share with you all a general synopsis of what I learned.
The speakers main point in all the sermons were that "God does not something FROM you, He wants something FOR you."I absolutely loved that point. So many times I feel like I have to do so many things for God and that He expects so much out of me, but really He does not expect anything out of you except for your continuous love for Him. He wants the best FOR us. God is so selfless and gives so much grace. The speaker talked about our relationship with God. If I were to ask you where your relationship with God is, how would you reply? He spoke to us about how an undefined relationship with Jesus is unimportant.
If you cannot define your relationship with God, it is not important. God wants a growing relationship with you. He wants one that moves. If you are in that middle ground, most likely your faith is slowly going to fade unless you get into God's Word and become closer to Him. We opened our Bibles to Mark 8. It basically said that we should live out our faith instead of just saying it. That really got me thinking. Am I living our my faith? Am I applying my devotions to my life? I really hope that people do see a change in myself and do see that I have God in my heart. It also said that while being a leader is a great thing, we also need to remember that we are following. We should be following Christ (8:34). Sometimes we want to do our own thing and want to be our own leader. We want to be in control. Yes, being a leader is great. Being a good leader who impacts others in a great way is great. But do not be a leader for you. Say NO to you. That can be really hard for me, because I desire to do so many things for myself. I really got out of this that I need to be less selfish and more selfless.
Following is about taking steps. That applies to life in general. Ask yourself what steps you are going to take to grow your relationship with God? He wants to have a relationship with you! What do you need to do that? What do you need to rid of to do that? For me, I definitely need to get rid of some things in my life as well as desires.
The next morning, our main point was "Outward EXPRESSION is NOT equivalent to obedient action."It is not a substitute. It is not meaningless. This sermon was out of Luke 6. I had to ask myself a question: am I living out what I am expressing? Is my outward impression reflecting my inward expression? As humans, we can be quick to admire, but slow to admire. I can admire all of my devotions, annotations, and painting as much as I want, but not grow any closer to God all because I do not apply. A faith stuck in the middle is one that is not applied. If you find that your faith is in the middle, ask yourself if you are applying. I found myself by the end of the weekend realizing that my faith was more in the middle. The person who applies God's teaching is a wise builder. Do you remember that song sung in Sunday School "The Wise Man Built His House on the Rock"? The speaker compared an applied life to that wise man. That wise man built his house on a firm foundation. In the storm, the wise man's house did not fall or falter because of that strong foundation. If we have God and His Word as the base of our life, we will be able to be strong and wise. If we are like the foolish man who did not build his house on a foundation, we will fall and we will falter.
Build on what Jesus teaches. Jesus wants to use YOU. Yes, you! Everyone has a purpose! He wants to use your talents and use you to glorify God. I know, I know, I know. It seems like the Bible has so many rules. It seems like we can't do anything, right? Wrong. What Jesus teaches us was not meant for our restriction but keep us from our own destruction. Please write this down, screenshot this, or whatever you do to remind yourself. God set those commandments in the Bible, so we aren't the the beholders of our destruction. Without following those rules, we are destroying ourselves. Jesus wants us to have a firm foundation in Him. He wants something for us not from us. Bring to action what you are studying.
In the afternoon, we actually had the opportunity to go out and serve our community. My group decided to go out and find a nursing home to give balloons too. Going into this, I was little uneasy as it was the one month mark that my dad had passed away. Nevertheless, I went into the situation with ease and with an open mind. After rerouting a million times to find a dollar store, we finally found it and headed off to the nursing home. We actually went to a home for those who have dementia or Alzheimer's disease. The smile on their faces translated to the smiles on all of ours. It was so touching to see these lovely people find so much happiness in a balloon. I may have shed a few tears when I saw a husband come in and meet his wife in the home. I handed him the balloon to give to his wife and it was so touching to see how his love did not falter for him even when she did not remember him. That is the same for God with us. Even when we forget that He is there, God still loves us.

For the night service, I first went to a session on love and being the woman your husband is looking for. Okay, I am only sixteen. I am not thinking about marrying anytime soon. But I am thinking about becoming and being that woman my future husband is looking for. We learned about being the Proverbs 31 woman. If you have never read that chapter, I really do recommend it. It was really personal, so I am not going to share too much about it. We all wrote down three things we wanted for our husband. Three things to never compromise on. We learned to walk away and stop compromising even if that guy is super "hot". For me my three things were to be selfless, respectful, and put God first. My dad was those three things, and I hope my husband will be too.
Last night, last service. We had a dance party! Throughout this whole weekend, I was so refreshed to be able to worship my God and jump up and down for Him and to see other teens my age do the same thing.
Our main point was "Action and behavior reflect attitude and belief". We opened up to Revelation chapter 3. Our actions reflect what we believe to be right and to be wrong. God wishes we are either hot or cold for him rather than be lukewarm and in the middle. He wants us to be in the state where we are sure. By God's grace, we are saved. How great is that! We are saved, because God is so merciful and shows us grace. Without God, we are literally nothing. With God, we gain joy, hope, and God's righteousness. Because of Jesus, He opens our eyes to what we could not see before. He lets us see deeper into things and see what is right and wrong. I really really liked this next point: "Indifference towards our Savior leads to unfruitful behavior". What is fruitfulness? Fruitfulness pertains to giving life, to being life. Our indifference leads us to death. Our unfruitful behavior leads to death. Deep, yeah. God is not our destroyer. We are! If we continue to go down the wrong path and wrong decisions, we will slowly destroy ourselves. But here is the great thing, God invites us to have a relationship with Him. He gives a personal invitation to everyone. Whether we accept or decline it is our decision. In verse 20, God gives us an invitation to an intimate relationship. Relationships in general are a two way lane. If you want to accept that invitation, apply God to your life and make the effort. Release your fears and let God.
I had so much fun at this retreat and cannot wait for next year. Thank you to everyone who wished for me to have fun! I, also, want to mention I met another blogger at this retreat. How cool is that? I reached out to Maggie when I saw that she followed the church's Instagram. We texted back and forth and finally met that Friday evening of the kick-off. Ah! She is the sweetest person ever, and I was so excited to meet someone else who loves what they do. If you haven't read Maggie's blog, hop over to there and see what she is all about.
Thank you for reading! This was a little lengthy, but I just had so much to share!


Verse of the Week:

Matthew 12:21
"His name will be the HOPE of all the world."

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