Grace’s Rhythm

Graces Rhythm

October is historically a challenging month for me, as there is so much going on in a such a small length of time. And don’t even get me started about all the heartbreaking things that have happened since October 1st flew in.

Friday, God laid Matthew 11:28-30 on my heart. I was feeling extremely burden, burnt out and highly fatigued. Sometimes, there seems to be hardships everywhere you look. Externally, there are assignments to finish, applications to fulfill, deadlines to meet and qualifications to exceed. Internally, there are goals to finish, dreams to fulfill, milestones to meet, and progress to exceed. No matter where you look, outwardly and inwardly, there is likely something lacking!

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”- Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

Now, the initiative is on us. Jesus says, “come to me.”, not “I will come to you.” We have to take the first step of surrender and then Jesus will meet us halfway. Another key phrase, that I saw, was “learn the unforced rhythms of grace”. When we go to Jesus and lay down our burdens at His feet, He gives us eternal rest by singing songs of grace over us. His songs bring peace as they melodically remind us that we are empowered to prosper…entitled to mercy…entrusted to God. His rhythms usher in a faith’s lens, marching fear’s out. As long as we are willing to listen, Jesus is more than willing to strum his guitar strings and belt out a tune.

If you are worn out from the world, feet barely up from the ground, take a minute to hear Jesus’s sweet supernatural song of mercy singing over you…

Faith: “Shush Fear…!”

Fear: “Oh please, I could care less.”

Faith: “…Grace is singing!”

Fear:

When Grace speaks, Fear falls silent.

 

Until Thursday,

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Butterfly

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“Why doesn’t she release us?” Freedom, a bright blue butterfly says to her prison companion, Forgiveness.

Freedom and Forgiveness are butterflies that have been imprisoned for more years than they can count. They long for the smell of outside air and the scent of fresh sprouting flower blooms.

“I don’t know?” Forgiveness replies, who also happens to be an equally beautiful and bright butterfly in his own right, except white in hue.

“It is the most asinine thing I have ever experienced.” Freedom remarks.

“It really is. She has the key to free us but she refuses to put it to good use!” Forgiveness adds.

“Exactly and if her sanity wasn’t enough, then the price her Savior paid for the key should be.” Freedom adds.

“Yeah, a hefty price! Talk about some unconditional love and mercy.” Forgiveness says.

“You see my wings? Their sparkling white and created to withstand the troughs of tribulations.”

“Freedom you and I were meant to fly, high into sky. You, near the clouds, light and free. Me, in the skies, full of blithe.”

“Couldn’t have said it better, Forgiveness. Although, you did forget your scintillating blue wings, strong enough to cut through the harrowing winds of hate.”

“Freedom, you are-Wait, do you hear that?” Forgiveness whispers.

Dear Savior in Heaven,

Thank you for waking me up this morning and blessing me to see another day! Without You on my side, I could never find the way. You sacrificed Your life and paid the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom and well-being. Help me to forgive others just as You did on the cross. Help me to release the desire to be in control of my life. Show me how to walk, live and revel in love all the days of my life. It is time for me to let go of these heavy weights that have been holding me down and grab tight to the promise of new life. I leave the past, present and future where they rightfully belong…in Your Almighty Hands…

In You Great Name, alone. Amen.

“I can’t believe it. We’re finally going to be free!” Freedom screeches.

“After all these years of being held in captivity and oppressed. I’m so elated that she decided to roll the weight of hurt and worry onto Jesus’ mighty shoulders. And I’m even more ecstatic to feel the wind through my wings again!” Forgiveness says

“Me too! Although, I am really going to miss you, Forgiveness!”

“Same here, we have had a lot of great times together.” Forgiveness responds.

“Well goodbye then, be blessed!”

“You too, but it is not goodbye, it is till next time…”

Butterfly, The Play

Starring:

Freedom
Forgiveness

Personification brings the Bible to life for me and allows me to not only retain God’s Word, but also understand it. What I would give to have Calculus and Chemistry textbooks in story form!

Unlike “Roll Call”, this one (Butterfly) is a little more abstract, so I am going to do a quick summary just in case you got lost in story! The butterflies are mental visuals of what goes on in our hearts. Past hurts and strongholds often hold us back from fully surrendering to God’s goodness. We have the keys to The Good Life, thanks to Jesus dying for us, yet we hesitate to use the precious gift that He sacrificed so much for! Your trapped butterflies might be different, maybe it is Peace or Joy. Kindness or Compassion. Temperament or Patience. Whatever they might be it is time to set them free

At the start of this year, AD declared that 2017 was A Year To Fly, and although there are only 112 days left in 2017, that is still plenty to stretch our wings!

Until Thursday,

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Settled.

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Sometimes my life looks like the picture above. Everything is blurry. Running together. Spiraling somewhere. And like a strong force of gravity the chaos of my life tries pull my mind into it. Blurring my focus. Running faith and doubt together. Spiraling nowhere.

Tries, is they key word here. Satan tried to stop Jesus as a baby, when King Herod authorized the order to kill all baby boys in Bethlehem. Satan tried to discourage David, by making his death, Saul’s personal mission. Satan tried to discredit Noah’s resolve in God, by speaking words of doubt through the townspeople. Satan a trying god…I’ll give him that! He has a fairly decent persistence rate and an equally mediocre creativity rate. He neither stops afflicting God’s children nor cease thinking of devious way to do it.

Try as the big bad wolf did, but he could not blow the third little piggy’s house down. That little piggy was settled. Satan will huff, puff and tell us that he is going to blow our houses down, destroy our careers, rip apart our families and do us completely in, but like a good villain, he never spills the bullseye of his demise. The bullseye: He can’t move settled people. Confident and resolute Christians will withstand all of his fiery trials and fierce floods.

I have made the decision to finally settle some things in my life. Things that were like measly sticks and straws in my heart, shifting around every time life’s gravity pulled on them. No longer am I am double minded. Triple minded. And unsettled. Today, I choose to change and be single minded and settled.

My thoughts and prayers are with the world today as I hope that a settling peace will overcome this world, in the midst of Satan’s last days of destruction…

WE WILL NOT BE SHAKEN, PSALM 55:22.

Until Sunday,

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Roll Call

Roll Call

“So—who is like me? Who holds a candle to me?” says The Holy. Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name—so magnificent! so powerful!—and never overlooks a single one?” –Isaiah 40:25-26 MSG

As night begins to fall, high up in the highest skies, the lights of the night begin to be awoken. It is time for their nightly assignment: light up the skies for God’s earth. Radiance is the first one up and quickly rouses the others to get ready. It will only be a short time for their Lord arrives to call roll and kindle their lights.

“Stars, are you ready for tonight?” God asks, fully aware of the fact that His faithful night servants are always ready to go at the drop of sunset.

“Yes, Father! We are delighted.” Dazzles replies, now completely awake thanks to Radiance’s friendly wake up call.

“Father God, he would not have been ready, if it had not been for me!” Radiance huffs.

“Radiance, stow your jealously. We all know I shine so very bright.” Dazzles counters.

“Here I am!” Bright, the baby of the bunch exclaims, thinking his name has been called.

“Not you Bright, the word bright.” Dazzles corrects.

“Oh I–” Bright begins talking in attempt to salvage some of his dignity.

“I spy with own eyes two of brightest blockheads in the skies tonight.” Radiance says, roaring with laughter.

“All of you just stop! We need each other –”, Sparky says trying to bring the peace, but is interrupted by Glow.

“Yeah, Sparky you need us, because your light only sparks. The rest of us, well at least me, glow all the time.” Glow replies with a chuckle.

“Now, Glow, that is just a dim comment.” Luminous, the elder star of them all chastises.

“What kind of name is Luminous anyway? Luminous…horrendous…” Radiance yells.

“That is enough.” God says with the sternest, but stillest of voices.

“I have let you all carry on long enough and I am very disappointed at your behavior. You all have a responsibility, an important one at that! To light up the night for my children on earth, during what would otherwise be a time of darkness. Not everyone has the opportunity to be stars. I hand crafted each and everyone of you, to be just as your are. The most beautiful and bright…in your own light.”

“God, I apologize for darkening the mood and being selfish.” Radiance says sincerely.

“Yeah, you definitely–” Dazzles starts but is quickly interrupted by God and given a silent warning.

“…Definitely weren’t alone in your selfishness.” Dazzles says, thankful for the quick save.

“Sparky, I’m sorry for my comment. Your scintillating sparks are what make you stand out from everyone else!” Glow says.

“Thanks Glow, you know you are the one who brings the real star show!” Sparky replies.

“And to Luminous, I owe an extra special apology. You have been nothing but kind and helpful to all of us stars. As the oldest, you are greatest star to ever chase away the dark!” Radiance speaks.

“I love the sight of this. Look at how you all are just illuminating. Your love and forgiveness for each other has kindled you all tonight. My touch isn’t necessary! Whose ready for roll call?” God says with a warm smile.

“Yay!” Bright screams.

 

“Sparky to the North.”

“Yes, Lord!”

“Glow to the East.”

“Yippee twinkles, Lord.”

“Dazzles to the South.”

“Thanks, Maker.”

“Luminous and Bright to the West.”

“Ready, newbie?”

“You bet I am!”

“And my sweet Radiance, to the center.”

“The center? God, I –”.

“Am underserving? Yes, you are! And despite your moment of strife tonight, I still love you and will not hold my compassion from you.”

“God, how could I ever repay you for loving me, the unlovable?”

“Radiate so that all the world can see. Gleaming so brilliantly, that all those who have sight, know it is because of Me.”

 

Roll Call, The Play
Starring:
God

Sparky
Glow
Dazzles
Radiance
Luminous
Bright

Hopefully you enjoyed that! Now, there are more (much more) than 6 stars in the sky every night. 6 trillion is probably more accurate, but I would not have been able to keep up with 6 trillion characters! Isaiah 40:25-26, is just one of those verses that truly comes alive for me. And when I was thinking about it today, God gave me this vision of how He marches the stars out at night. How amazing, yet completely unfathomable is that? Maybe God will give me the conclusion of this vision telling me how He marches the stars in 🙂

If God can remember the names of 6 trillion stars, then surely He can remember our names and march us into our bright futures! And He loves us, just as He does Radiance…acting on His love and not our actions…

Until Thursday,

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Face the Music

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Yes, that is my hand. No, it is not bruised. Yes, it washed off. Hopefully, I answered all questions! Oh, and it is maker by the way, I was doing some DIY tie-dye for my sketchbook…

Although, school doesn’t officially start till next Wednesday (ages away, I know), today I had to get books and attend to other school related matters. Subconsciously, I was dreading school and getting back into the hustle and bustle. And instead of facing those fears like the Child of God I am, I was hiding…

We are not meant to be cowards to fear and Satan. God wants us to face tribulations –whether it be Crayola marker wars or crazy schemes from Lucifer, head on with His airtight armor. Natural wars often leave us with a lifetime of physical and emotional scars, that some (unfortunately) are never able to recover from. Supernatural wars, on the other hand leave us with a lifetime of experiences and testimonies.

Honestly, this entire year has felt like a supernatural war for me! It is so much easier to ignore trials as if they aren’t happening to you. Ignore hurt feelings as if they aren’t bothering you. Ignore fear as if it isn’t screaming at you.

I love how in Daniel, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were checked on the next morning after being thrown in the fiery furnace, the King, “discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of fire on them” (Daniel 3:27 MSG). And because God works miracles in any weather, I am also fond of this line, “ But the Israelites walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to the right and to the left.” (Exodus 14:29 MSG)

With God, no matter the weather or temperature of the fire or waters we pass through, we always come through completely clean…

Bringing this post home, my hands came out about 97.13% clean with a little soap and a lot of scrubbing! Meaning, I was left with about 2.87% of marker residues in the grooves and curves of my hand. But what is even more impressive (besides my superb mathematical skills) is that with God, not even the tiniest bit of evidence from trials remains in our lives.

So go ahead, strap on the full Armor of God and strike down whatever mountain is staring you in the face, with God’s Word. Face the music of victory and no matter what happens, “just keep on dancing.”*

*P.S. Two things really quick!

  1. Although, I would love to take credit for those last four lines, I can’t! This is the original quote from the movie, Jumping the Broom: “Life is like a disco. No matter how the music changes, you just keep on dancing.”
  2. I apologize for rambling, but I am confident that if I needed this today, then maybe you did too!

Until Sunday,

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Honest Conversations

Honest Conversations

I have a fairly passive-aggressive personality, in which I normally go completely out of my way to avoid conflict.  Whether it be conflict with others or even with myself.

Honesty, is a two way street that must be traveled by everyone and the people they associate with. Integrity is probably one of my biggest pet peeves as I expect it from those around me and hold myself to that same standard.

Today, I had to confront one of the most important people in my life. This person, after God, knows me best…myself. I had to ask and answer some hard questions. Such as “Does my view of myself align with God?”, “Am I truly walking in my redemption?” and the real kicker, “Do I honestly believe that God loves me?”. It’s easier to either a) ignore things as though they don’t exist or b) rationalize things to make them seem insignificant. But neither of these coping mechanisms are beneficial in the end. They simply mask the truth and keep leading us deeper into lies.

Satan is the father of lies, John 8:44, in which if he can’t get his lies to us, he will feed his lies through us. Instead of coming with foolishness himself, he will disguise himself as our inner voice and accomplish his mission, of snuffing out light and honesty for darkness and dishonesty.

God is light and in Him, there is no darkness, 1 John 1:5. His desire is for us to live our lives in His bright light! Only you (and God) know what areas of darkness you may have in your life.

When was the last time you had honest conversations with yourself?

Until Sunday,

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P.S. What came out of my honest conversation with myself? I still have some growing and learning to do when it comes to my faith! But, I have peace about the progress of perfection in me. God is going to keep pruning me until I am exactly as He created me to be! He is adamant about finishing His work in me…and you!

A Personal God

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History has always seemed to astound me. It always amazes me how people of the past were able to find “joy” in some of the most joyless circumstances. Anne Frank’s diary, stories from African American slaves and even wartime journals from soldiers and their families, all have elements of happiness despite the “worse case of scenario” being their day to day reality.

I cannot even fix my mind to say that one group of people suffered more (or less) than others, because suffering is suffering. Just like opposition from Satan comes in many disguises, but one general form. Health, financial, family and career challenges are all tools of irritation that the devil often employs. The challenges I face are likely a little different than yours and that is what makes God so awesome! He attends to each and everyone of our personal and individual needs. God does not mass produce His comfort and answer to our prayers! He won’t recycle the same message for me that He gave to you, because you are special and unique!

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

-Isaiah 46:4 NIV

I love how a lot of the Bible reads in first person and much like a dialogue. God gave us the ultimate sign of love, by sacrificing His only Son for our salvation. And because He is so awesome and omniscient, knowing that sometimes we need reassurance about His Love, He gave us 66 books with endless reminders of who we are to Him. We are loved and that is enough…no matter what we are going through!

Until Sunday,

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The Ascent

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The sun is beaming down on you and cutting right through your sunscreen. Your skin feels hot and your are positive, that it is at least 80°outside. Sweat is dropping down your face and your entire body is screaming for A/C and an ice-cold glass of water. You struggle to keep moving forward as your body is burdened with the weight of a photo album full of memories from years ago, containers from last night’s dinner and a jar full of all the tears you’ve cried during your lifetime. You look and up and make eye contact with someone who started after you did and see that they have already completed the trail. “Why would you hike Grand Canyon with all that stuff?”, they ask.

“Why would you hike Life’s Canyon with all that stuff?”, God asked me this morning. He painted this vivid illustration and showed me that I was carrying around a lot of excessive things, that were making my journey in life more difficult than it needed to be. We would agree that the person in the illustration was acting out of insanity. They wanted to reach the summit, but their actions were proving to be much louder than their intentions.

What if I said that you and I all know someone who lives life like the person in the illustration? Yep, we look them right in the eye, every morning, night and afternoon…day after day. Our photo albums full of memories from years ago reside in our hearts, where we rehearse the good, but more often than not, the bad things of the past. Our containers from last night’s dinner, are the remnants of past regret that we carry and allow to hamper present day decisions. Our jar full of all the tears we’ve cried during our lifetimes, live in our minds as they stonewall us from letting things go and nurturing the great things in life.

There is a choice given to us, every time the sun dawns on a new day: To strap on baggage and carry it up the mountain OR to strip off baggage and leave it down the mountain. Philippians 3:13-14 tells us to cast off the past and strain towards the future, where Jesus and our Heavenly rewards are.

I now see why Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt when she “looked back” in Genesis 19:26. Sure, she disobeyed the angels, who were messengers of God, but her actions had ramifications that ran much deeper than defiance. The pillar of salt that she was turned to was symbolic of the condition of her heart. She was never going to be able to move forward and had she lived after her noncompliance, she would have been much like our little friend, the irrational hiker.

Whew…that was a lot, so if you made it this far…thanks for sticking with me! The good news is that Jesus eternally cut the shackles of bondage when He died on the cross. And the only thing stopping you from true freedom is yourself. Fortunately for us, God does not operate on whether we feel free or not, due to the fact that as soon as we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the deal was sealed in His eyes!

Are you ascending as free or a bound believer?

Until Thursday,

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You


Happy Easter and I’ll leave it at that! I am not going to say what has already been said billions of times about Easter and Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection.

So I’ll get straight to the point…we are time traveling on this glorious day!
Imagine this:

After a a few weeks of planting and preparing your family farm for harvest season in the fall, you and your parents decide to visit some family members in Calvary. The trip takes hours of traveling on a camel, in which you arrive mid afternoon on Friday. Upon arrival, you notice the peculiar aura in the town. Something just isn’t right, and when your cousins, with a mischievous look on their faces, open the door and demand you follow them, your suspicions are confirmed. Your cousin takes you to this location, where three figures are hanging on crosses. “It’s a great day, because these criminals are finally paying for their crimes.” You silently agree, until the figure, beyond recognition, in the middle makes eye contact with you. He looks you straight in the eye and says, “I’m doing this for you. I’m taking lack, sickness, stress, and all negative things to the grave with me. When I rise again, I will leave it there.” Before you can respond, the figure dies. In shock, you ask out loud, “Who was he?” “The Son of God”, a Roman guard replies.

That scenario above was laid upon me by Jesus himself, while I was in church this morning and I wanted to share it with you. It is loosely close to what really happened in Mark 15.

We know that Jesus has already died for us, but thinking about the cross in the present tense, makes his sacrifice much more personal and real!

He died for one reason and one reason only: you.

Christ has Risen and so can you!

Until Thursday,

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Save

Be STILL

be-still

I already had a post planned for today but in typical God style…He had another vision! Honestly, when do our plans ever really work out?

We are living in times where it is challenging to just rest in God’s presence. It is easy to get caught up in the ups and downs of life, but God commands us be still. Psalm 46:10 (NIV) says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The word still, has many definitions, as it can mean being at peace, mentally or motionless, physically. After reading the scripture over again, God showed me that being still is not just sitting around and doing nothing, but getting up and moving according to His promises for my life. Applying God’s command to be still in our lives, looks like the following:

S tanding with God

When life leaves us unsteady, we stand boldly knowing that God is on our side.

T rusting in God

We may not understand life at the present moment, but we know that God does and we can rely on that.

I n God's Hands

In the good and bad times, we can always seek refuge in the fact that God holds us in His mighty hands.

L iving for God

Spreading the good news of salvation through Jesus, and God’s unconditional love keeps our minds on eternity…our real home!

L oving God and People

Shifting our focus to others and from ourselves, weeds out ungratefulness and the spirit of impatience.

..

Are we supposed to just live for God when everything is going right? Does God expect us to wake up and be perfectly still? No and definitely no. Stillness is a lifestyle, not an annual holiday. And God never asked us to be perfect, He just asked us to be completely yielded to Him. In the mist of life’s storms, our only job is to be still and know that God is bringing us through…and turning things around.

Be still. One message. Two Words. My prayer is that we will find and maintain stillness in our lives, that persists come rain or shine!

Happy (early) Valentine’s Day! And even if you don’t get a gift or flowers, remember that you are God’s Beloved Valentine all year!

Until Thursday,

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