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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Another Shot

Another Shot

Although Christmas is the day where we receive and give the most gift, it is the only time we are given presents. By definition, according to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, a gift is “something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation. Voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation. We neither pay for nor earn anything from God. All of His gifts and blessings have everything to do with who He is, and little to do with what we have done.

A couple mornings ago, I was just  thinking about Lamentations 3:22-23, and how everyday, I get a fresh dose of grace, love and mercy…straight from Heaven. However, like God’s most important gift ever, salvation through Jesus, we can’t sense His gifts with our natural 5 senses. Grace doesn’t come to us as care package on our doorsteps. Love doesn’t show up as extra sugar in our morning coffee. And mercy doesn’t greet us as we prepare for a new day.

God’s gifts come in the form of every oxygen molecule we breathe in and the subsequent carbon dioxide ones we breathe out. It is the dawn of a new day and another chance to follow Him, who leads the way. It is the opportunity to shoot again, regardless of whether yesterday we shot a bullseye or a bullsnose.

Sometimes, when I ponder life, I think of how redundant and monotonous it can be. Work. School. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. I think of how we will never see another day of the week besides the 7 we already have. I think of how there will never be more than 12 months in a year. And then I think of all the things God can do in me, through me and for me, in those never- changing 7 days, and 12 months. Friday coming will be better than Friday past, just as August coming will be better than August past. Why? Because God doesn’t operate by time, He operates by will. Will we receive His grace and walk in it? Will we receive His love and revel in it? Will we receive His mercy and move in it? Will we receive this new day and take another shot at it?

Until Sunday,

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Might as Well

Might as Well

Sometimes, life can bring us down to situations where we feel like there is no use in “trying again” or “getting up”. I call this the might as well mentality. It is a feeling of hopelessness that comes from an infamous ungodly philosopher that we know all too well, Lucifer.

The might as well mentality looks like the following:

Might as well…

  • …succumb to despondency because life has dealt you lots of lemons.
  • …give up because nothing has worked so far.
  • …blame everyone and everything else for your troubles.
  • …doubt God because he hasn’t fulfilled His promises like He promised.
  • …become a grouch because there is nothing to be happy about.

And the one that gets me every time:

…eat two cupcakes, because your calorie bank is overdrawn already.

God desires us to be nevertheless Christians, not might as well Christians. He wants us to push through uncomfortable situations and live life as if all of His promises have already fulfilled. We owe it to ourselves and God to praise Him and be overflowing with joy…no matter what our current and forever changing circumstances look like!

Until Thursday,

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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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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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The Longest Call

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You know the feeling of desperately needing to talk to someone, either for your benefit or their own, and they don’t answer. You call, text and email multiple times, but all of your attempts go unanswered. Now, that person probably isn’t ignoring your messages on purpose, but is likely preoccupied with something else where their phone is off or not with them.

As sovereign beings, we have the gift of free will, in which God will never force us to do anything. However, God never stops speaking to our hearts and spirits. Even when we are so engrossed in other things and people, He is always calling!

Talk about a patient and loyal God! He’s like the parent of a rebellious teenager, who refuses to give up on their child, despite being told, “they are a hopeless cause.” God, like that parent will live on standby, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, waiting on their child (you and me) to return home. Fortunately for us, we have now until Jesus returns, to take advantage of God’s open invitation to fellowship with Him. Unfortunately for us, is the fact that we don’t know when Jesus is coming back. We could have years and months or days and minutes…

Most of us, don’t say to God, “Leave me alone, I don’t want to talk to You!”, we just imply that through our actions. Even still, God is so great and outstanding that He gives us a fresh start and clean slate everyday! He doesn’t hold unanswered advances from yesterday over our heads, He just continues chasing us until one day, we get quiet and listen to what He has to say.

Is your spiritual phone ringing?

Until Sunday,

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What If…

What If

I am ashamed to admit that when I am faced with the unknown, I quickly jump on a racetrack of “what ifs” and race towards all the things that could go wrong. Failure, rejection and on and on the list goes, until I have practically painted a picture of bad things that haven’t even happened!

There is no denying the fact that thoughts of terror and fear are going to find their ways into our lives…it’s inevitable. However, what isn’t inevitable is how we choose to approach those thoughts. Sure, jumping out of our comfort zones could be bad decision. But, what if, it becomes one of the best decisions we ever made?

Life is teaching me to get excited about all the things that could go right, instead of all the things that could wrong! I wonder how much more fulfilling life would be if we were quick to reach positive conclusions, as oppose to negative ones? Probably, a million times better!

Although, God’s promises do not come with a shipping tracker, we know that they will reach us…someway…somehow…someday soon. Adopting a positive outlook on life, no matter what may be staring us in the face, is not an act of crazy, but of confident faith. We know the end from the beginning. Jesus won, which means we win. End of story and probably the best book spoiler I have ever gotten!

In essence, rationality is a way of life. The human brain cannot fully comprehend or accept God’s Word without some “what ifs”. I personally see it this way: I might as well look for all the good “what ifs”, that are more likely to happen than the bad ones!

Happy Father’s Day to our Heavenly and earthly fathers…this life wouldn’t be possible without them!

Until Thursday,

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Significance

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Though birds are beautiful they can be quite annoying! From nesting in places they shouldn’t, to bestowing their feces upon our cars and homes, they seem to have the absolute worst timing ever. But, nothing can compare to the sweet sounds of chirping through the air or the sight of their brightly colored wings…

As the oldest of three, I have two little birdies in my life, who I wouldn’t trade the world for. However, they too, have horrible timing, like when I am at the climax of T.V. show or in the peak of a novel, and they come yelling, “It’s an emergency!” Which always seem to be some sort of emergency, that really isn’t an emergency at all, like Xbox and lemonade-making issues!

I’m saying all this to say, that there is a silver bow that nicely wraps up all the (what are to me) inconveniences. Seeing a genuine smile on my brother’s face, because for once, I’m showing sincere interest in his choice of leisure, instead of discounting it…is priceless. Hearing a squeal from sister, because for once, I’m actively participating in her ice pop making adventure…is indescribable.

I believe our earthly relationships are to a point, parallels to our relationship with God. I imagine God, with a huge grin on His face, when we enter His presence just to talk and commune with Him. Not with our hands out or our minds preoccupied, but genuinely interested in Him, as a Spirit, as oppose to Him, The Maker, Helper, Provider etc. The more I hang out with God, the more I get the sense that in many ways, Him and I, are not that much different, in the way we feel and view things. He’s just perfect and powerful, while I’m…not!

You probably despise people who only call or text, when they are in need of something…I know I do! So, why would we ever treat God with that same lack of significance?

Until Sunday,

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It’s Your Choice To Stay

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Happy 8 months to Anomalous Darlings and a huge thanks for all the continued support…it means the world!

In addition to journaling, blogging and various other styles of writing I find myself doing, I also write poetry. I got the love and gift of poetry from my mother and over the years, I have adopted it as my own muse. Up until now, I haven’t felt compelled to share my poetry. But, with God as you probably know, there always seems to be a first time for everything!

It’s Your Choice To Stay is what I call the two sister poems, Your Choice To Stay & Cycles, that were written almost a year apart, but feed off of each other.

 

7/25/16

Your Choice to Stay

It’s your choice to stay
And act like everything is okay

Life can only deal the cards
But you, you
Have the final part to play
In cultivating your destiny

It’s your choice to stay
And live like you have nothing to say

Situations may leave you numb
But you, you
Are equipped to overcome
And see the beauty of the sun

It’s your choice to stay
And pretend like life has you binded in a blinded daze

Complacency and measly satisfactory can slowly creep in
But you, you
Have a Divine Power living within
That completely breaks the chain of them

It’s your choice to stay
So when the time comes
What will you say?

To stay or to leave
It’s your choice to stay

 

5/23/17

Cycles

 

They go round and round

Round and round

Taking you high 

And then throwing you down

 

You get up and say, “Never again”

Only to later find out

There is no end

 

Yes

No end for the faint in heart

Or those who see life as quick darts

 

But there is a way

For those who truly want to be free

Those who realize that freedom comes day by day 

Like The Heavenly Potter who carefully and consciously crafts His clay

 

Cycles

They go round and round

Round and round

Taking you high 

And then throwing you down

But at noon’s day

The cycle only continues

If you choose to stay…

 

Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, the spacing for Cycles is off, so I apologize! Hopefully, you were able to enjoy and understand the poems. And since I believe that a) God speaks to us as individuals and b) there is never a right or wrong interpretation of poetry, I am going to leave your own personal analysis!

Until Thursday,

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Better Off

Better Off

Yesterday, I was talking to this wise lady I know (who by God’s grace happens to be my mother) and she had a powerful message for me concerning associations:

“If negativity and lack is the song you are singing, I don’t want to hear it!”

-My Wise Mother

Like most teenagers, I have a desire be active socially and interact with other people my age outside of school. I have attended a few camps and even went to a few birthday parties, but there were always lingering thoughts in my head like, “How much longer do I have to be here?” and the infamous one, “When is a good time to slip out, unnoticed?”

It wasn’t that the camps were boring or that I felt uncomfortable at the parties, but it was something much more simpler…perspective.

Life can only be viewed, generally speaking, through two lenses, positive or negative. When the smoke clears, one is either drinking lemonade with their life or eating the bitter lemons of their circumstances. The way in which we see life infiltrates our day-to-day conversations and ultimately, determines the company we keep.

The older I get, the more I see the following:

  • It is okay to walk alone with God for a few miles in the journey of life.
  • Everyone is not meant to be with you on the voyage of life.
  • Life and people are like busy roads and raging waters, forever changing.

God, on the other hand is constant, whether our table is full or empty, His seat is eternally filled! When it pertains relationships of various types (platonic, romantic or professional) I am a firm believer that God is an ample supplier of wisdom and discernment. After all, He knows us better than we know ourselves…

Until Tuesday,

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P.S. Tuesday, the 13th is 8 months for AD’s existence, which could not be a better time to make up for missing Thursday a few weeks ago 🙂