Acceptance

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I’ve tried to spend this past week engaging and being active with my loved ones. All the tragedies and disasters of this year have really caused me to pull back the smoke screen of “happiness” to see the things that truly matter!

I often wonder about Jesus and how he handled the notion that he had to go to the Cross. Giving his life for people that may or may not even acknowledge his name. What a challenging thought to come to grips with!

It’s clear from Matthew 26:39, that Jesus pondered other options, pleading with God to find another way. Just as we would if our parents came to us and said, “Hey, My Beloved Child, I need you to sacrifice yourself for the redemption of your siblings (you and I) and the people down the street who can’t stand the ground you walk on (the Pharisees).” Jesus was facing a grave task that he frankly didn’t want to do. Yet, there came a time when He realized that he was The Way and that God’s grace would see him through.

Applying that to our lives, I’m curious about what things we need to just accept and rely on God’s grace to deal with. If there was another way of handling life besides depending on God’s timing, I’m sure we would have already found and put it to great use…but there isn’t. Now, thankfully we aren’t facing death for the salvation of others! And what is even sweeter is that all the things we are facing, have already fallen thanks to the same grace and power that snatched Jesus from death’s grip.

My prayer is that you’ll accept the plan that God has for your life and whatever challenges may come along ,never forgetting the fact that only good things come from God, James 1:17.

Until Thursday,

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peace.

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Instead of attending to my never-ending to-do list, I kicked off the Christmas season with a Hallmark movie. The last couple of weeks have been such a tremendous time of growth and reprioritization. I seemed to have been neglecting the very person that I will be forever stuck with…myself.

Life is all about balance and I now see that I didn’t have very much J! Proverbs 24:33-34 talks about how poverty creeps in with excess slumber. Yet Proverbs 3:24 promises a sweet and peaceful sleep when we lie down. Bible contradiction? Nope, just another sign of how God truly intended for us to exercise wisdom in our lives. Now, I can’t watch movies every afternoon and expect to be successful in life. Just as I can’t work my fingers (and brain) to the bone and expect to be fulfilled in life.

In a world where everybody is trying to acquire more, be better than the best and achieve speeds faster than fast, I pray that we will be the first ones to slow down the pace of our lives. Bulldozing the first domino down that could lead to less stress-related diseases and more laugh-related wrinkles!

…even God rested on the seventh day…

Until Thursday,

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Downside Up

Downside Up

What if when life feels turned upside down, it is actually downside up?

A couple weeks ago, my life got a little more challenging (or should I say my academic life:) I was spinning wheels like the little engine that could, going nowhere but feeling exhausted like I’ve been everywhere! Spent out of gas and left to settle myself, I finally had a prodigal moment (when you think something else besides “woe is me”) and was like, “I can be miserable and at His mercy or I can be joyful and at His mercy. Either way I’m at His mercy, so I might as well be happy.”

Looking back I see that my life was completely upside down, as I was trusting God, but also subconsciously dependent on myself. That is why my peace was fleeting, as soon as it came, it went, just like a glass full of water that has been inverted. Jesus is a well of living water, 100% accessible to us at all times, but if our cups are turned upside down, then all the joy and tranquility that He offers will leave just as quickly as it enters. Although, this week has been a bit stormy, I’ve had the most constant and lingering peace. It is now truly well with my soul.

Satan cannot and will not bother those that he has his hold on, so if he is afflicting you, that is a great sign. My hope is that Satan is very busy, vainly attempting to steal the peace of God’s children!

Until Sunday,

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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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