Love Lights the Way

Love Lights the Way

What influences your life? Or better yet, who? I like to believe that God and His Words frame my world, but last night, I realized that was not all the way true…

“Storage Almost Full

You can manage your storage in Settings”

Yep, I got this message on my phone last night! And you’re probably wondering, “How does one burn through 60 gigabytes of memory in less than a year?” Easy, a phobia of running out. You see, when I take pictures I don’t just take one or even two, I have to have at least 4 or 5. And instead of deleting all the duplicates, I always find a reason to keep them. Like, “What if the picture is too big/small to be cropped?” or the infamous one, “What if the other three get deleted by accident?” The thought of not having enough, whether it’s contact solution, batteries, gas, or lead is just downright frightening. Now, we all have quirks of some sort so don’t judge me J!

It is human nature to search for security and center our lives around those things. My day is already off to an interesting start if I have to put some elbow grease into getting my morning toothpaste! The day is not even broken in yet, and I have already allowed a fleeting phobia to hijack my life! Whether it be financial security through an investment or emotional security through pets…we are trying to fill void that can only be sufficed by God’s love and light.

As children of God, we cannot allow our quirks to pave the way for our lives. We cannot allow negativity, jealously, fear or any other ungodly thing(s) to rule our lives. With God, we have everything we will ever need and thus want for nothing. God loves us with a love that outweighs any and all other things that try to take our lives off the course that he has already charted.

Love lights the way and in those lights of love there is no darkness…

Psalm 119:105 & 1 John 4:18

Until Thursday,

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Laugh It Off

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Shake it off! What a popular statement that we probably have heard or said ourselves more times than we can count! The phrase stands the test of time because there is so much truth in it. When bad or unfavorable things happen, we should not carry them, but get rid of them…immediately.

There are a lot of ways to remove things from your life. You can shake them off. Drop them off. Cut them off. Or even burn them off. However, I think the most rewarding and effective way is to, laugh them off. I see it like this: Whatever happened, happened and time will never be reversed. So, I might as well find some humor in it!

Last Friday, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and I will admit that. I really was just a sitting target for funky frosty flakes and some miffed milk. And being the opportunist that he is, Satan acted quickly and the next thing I knew I had to apologize to my family for irritable demeanor and actions. I assure you I am putting all my business out  there for a good reason…

Fast forward a couple hours later and my 7 year old little sister asks our mom this ironic question: “Mommy, what is strife?” To which my mom replied, “Strife is what Kaylah* was in earlier.” Now, it wasn’t a good feeling to realize that I had succumbed to emotionalism and for that I am deeply sorry. However, laughing at the joke my mother made, severed the ability of Satan to condemn me later. I said my apologies to my family and I made my amends with God…there is no record of it!

Hopefully, there are some things in your life, that you can laugh off and take them as learning experiences. As long as we remain honest in our imperfection and repent for our mistakes, we are still in the clear with God and out of the red with Satan.

A laugh a day, keeps the Accuser away! When was the last time you laughed?

Until Thursday,

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* Kaylah and I are the same person. My parents hardly ever call me Vivian and if they do, I’m in an immeasurable amount of trouble!

 

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!

Keys of Life

Keys of Life

Now, what is a lock without a key? We can have thousands of new beginnings but if we don’t know how to access them, they are useless.

Life is much like and consists of many doors! We use doors for both leaving and entering places of residence and work. However, beyond natural doors lie spiritual ones, such as peace and provision. And much like our homes, spiritual doors have locks as well. Everyday, we must walk through both natural and spiritual doors.

There are only two keys in life, of which we can only use one…Faith or Fear. We can’t operate by both, just like we can’t serve God and Satan. When tribulations afflict us, we are led to spiritual doors and given both faith and fear as individual keys to open the same lock. Say you applied for a job/internship and for whatever reason, your application was denied. I would say that is a pretty real threat of failure! And like any other obstacle in life, you are faced with a door and two options. To either a) enter by faith –speaking that God will provide and has a greater plan, Philippians 4:19 or b) enter by fear –speaking that God will not provide and does not have a greater plan, Luciferians 19:4. Luciferians is Satan’s book of lies…

In this life, there is no neutral ground. We are either 100% for Christ by faith or 100% for Satan by fear. You don’t have to be a santanic enthusiast to serve Satan. Taking Satan’s lies to heart instead of Jesus’ truth, grows just as the former from the same vine.

This morning we were all faced with spiritual doors of some sort and only you can say what key –faith or fear– you used. However, the amazing thing about God is that He is The Maker of second chances. God’s deepest desire is to see us prosper and be who He created us to be. It is comforting to know that The Creator of the universe is rooting for us!

My faith keys are jingling…what about yours?

Until Thursday,

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New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Getting all four of my wisdom teeth removed last Friday left me in a rather painfully peculiar position. And somehow, in between moments of mental insanity (thanks to the strong painkillers) and excruciating pain, I was able to take a walk of reflection through my life.

Most people would probably contend that fresh starts come from drastic changes such as a new year, new job, new relationship or new location. And though those things often bring a breathe of positive energy, they aren’t the only method. January 1, is just one of the 365 clean slates we receive from God, within every year of our lifetimes. Everyday is essentially…a new beginning.

Given my condition, I was quite still and that afforded more than enough time to overanalyze my life. As if I wasn’t feel bad enough already! However, after I planned and attended my own pity party, it was like God came to me and said, “Are you finished? Because I have a few things to talk to you about…” And talk He did!

Instead of rehashing the past, God showed me how to get past it. In my morphine induced sleep sessions, He gave me peace about a lot of things in my life, like the ones I knew I was struggling with and even a few that I wasn’t aware still needed some TLC. We all know that one thing that in our minds is water under the bridge, but in our hearts is definitely carved in stone. Yep, that thing (regret, hurt, person)…

Still and quiet time with God, no matter what lands us there –difficult circumstances, difficult people or even difficult oral procedures– is time for us shut off all other voices and harken to The Only Voice that matters. In our meetings with Him, what I like to call Moments With The Maker, we allow God to bestow on us, the things we are lacking and grow in us, the things that should be thriving.

It feels good to be free. Free from the past, present and future. My face doesn’t look like pickles and for once, I’m truly training my eyes to see life through the silver-lined sunglasses that Jesus sacrificed so much for me to obtain. From my view, I see new beginnings!

What does life look like from your view?

P.S. Although, I typically try to refrain from using the word “thing” excessively, this post is the exception to that. Hopefully, you can make this post a little more personal to you by replacing the generic words with ones that pertain to your life.

Until Sunday,

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Mental Nests

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Happy Thursday the 13th! Thanks to all those whose love and support have remained constant throughout these last 9 months!

One of Satan’s most cunning tools is the nesting of our feelings AKA The Snowball Effect, in which we often continue to stack on pines of pain, shrubs of shame, grass of guilt and stones of stress into one giant mental nest. Mental nests that we not only carry around in our minds, but also allow to control our outlook on life.

There are two interesting things about natural nests:

  1. Nests take days to build, and mere moments to destroy.
  2. The scent of humans and other disturbances will often cause some birds to abandon their nests.

Satan in the spiritual realm acts a lot like birds in the natural realm. He spends weeks, months and even years constructing mental strongholds in our minds, but in one moment, they can be dissipated. He will also abandon us when the scent of Jesus radiates through our lives. I can’t speak for everyone, but being rejected by Satan sounds like an excellent thing to me!

Although, Satan will tell us that we will never be free our current way of thinking, he is an absolute liar. The day we are free from the spirit of emotionalism and the accumulation of negative feelings, is the day we choose to redeem our freedom that has already been paid in full by Jesus. Now, the process of retraining our thinking and lives will take some time. The birds do not stop flying around your house, just because you destroyed one nest, they continue to fly around looking to build a new nest close by.

Satan is constantly searching for a way to infiltrate our lives. As long as we reside on earth, he will never stop afflicting us. However, we are comforted by The Creator, loved by The Son and guided by The Holy Spirit. Talk about a relentless clique, that we have eternal open access to!

Until Sunday,

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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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Subordinate Sense

Subordinate Sense

My name is Vivian and I am recovering from a chronic sense of subordinance.

Addictions come in all shapes, forms and sizes. Alcohol, drugs and other physical addictions are not the things that can cast bondage on our lives and imprison us.

The summer months give me plenty of time to maul over my life and critique it from various angles. Now, that practice is double edged, as there has to be a good balance of recognizing your faults and then moving on to fix them. FYI, I’m still working on that balance. At any rate, this week during my Maul Moments with The Maker, God showed me that taking worry thoughts and seeing myself as inferior has negatively impacted more than just my day-to-day existence.

Stress is a smooth criminal, as he robs people of their present joy AND future peace. I can’t be happy now, or have peace about the future if I am worried about it. That’s a double setback. And Sense of Subordination, SS is one conniving manipulator. If my mind has a stronghold that I am undeserving of great things, then I will never have them. God’s promises are twofold, with belief, first and confession/faith, second. Entertaining SS in my life, kills the promises before I can even put faith behind them!

So, I don’t know about you, but my summer schedule is suddenly full…in the best way possible! I can’t think of a better adventure to undertake, than working on myself and getting closer to God.

 “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

– Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

Looks like Philippians 4:6-7 was penned just for me. Though we may have different challenges, God loves me just as much as He loves you. Somewhere, in those 66 books, is a bible verse penned specifically for you and your personal needs. Our God is a relentless God, who never leaves anyone (no matter how hard-headed, far gone or imperfect) without His support and guidance…

Until Sunday,

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An Open Canvas

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June 1st is here…6 months down…6 more to go!

My summer calendar is relatively open, for the first time in 3 years! Unlike summer’s past, I don’t have an online class or summer assignments to complete. It is hard to envision my summer without some form of academic work, because I have been doing it for long.

Personally, I believe society has a tendency to portray people with free time, as lazy people. Many commercials and ads seem to promote slogans like, “energy on the go” and “never be sleepy again”. We live in such a sleepless society, in which someone is always doing something…somewhere!

To be honest, I was feeling like an underachiever, when I looked at my tentative schedule in light of what everyone else is doing around me. But, like all other negative thoughts that come my way, my sense of underachievement was just another one of Satan’s lies. I have to give the devil a little credit here. He is a good observer of what our weak spots are AND skilled in exploiting those weak spot through deception. But, God is a great observer of our weak sports AND extremely skilled in alleviating those weak spots through love. Satan may be a consistent challenger, but God is an even more consistent winner…all the time!

Back to my original thought…

A blank schedule is like an open canvas. The possibilities are endless and beyond our wildest dreams. When our lives aren’t cluttered with running around the globe and back in one day, God can speak to and through us. We can hear and execute, whatever He wants to say or do, because we are not distracted! Still time. Free time. Rose-smelling time. Are all great things, that any high achieving person needs and appreciates. Open time allows us to return to what really matters in life, refine our faith in God and expand our imagination. When we clear our canvas and let God be the artist in our life, we will forever be amazed, blessed and never disappointed.

“This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’”

-Jeremiah 33:2-3 (MSG)

Until Sunday,

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No Means No

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“No means no.” I would dare say that is one of the most popular phrases that parents and older siblings say to younger kids! A simple “no”, doesn’t always communicate the need to stop whatever they are doing. So, saying “no means no” serves as a reinforcement statement.

Last week was a big week. I took my last final for school AND AD turned 7 months on the 13th! You would think that I would be over the moon with excitement and joy, which I am…to a degree. I seemed to have switched from present stress to future stress! I have realized that life will always give me something to stress or worry about…if I permit it.

There are a lot of “nos” in the bible. We have The Ten Commandments and various other guidelines that God has set before us. When God says, “Take no worry thoughts” in Matthew 6:34, He absolutely means it! No means no, in all contexts. Whether it is telling an employee to not be late or a child not to eat too much sugar.

There are consequences for children and employees that do not heed the warnings that they have been given. The threat of what might happen is often enough to make people follow the rules. But, unlike earthly superiors, God does not disown us as children or fire us from our God-given callings, He gives us grace and sees the best in us. People will often abide by man-made rules, but completely disregard God’s, because there isn’t immediate punishment.

As we, God’s children, become closer to God, I pray that we will hearken to His voice and truly obey His “no means no”.

Until Sunday,

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