Too Well

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In a competition against someone, chances are not probable that you will choose a game/sport that you have never played or know nothing about! You’re going to choose something of familiarity…something that you know the ins and outs of, with your eyes closed.

Our adversary, Satan is no different. When he plans he attack against us, he doesn’t employ love, truth or kindness, his weapons of choice are worry, fear and anxiety. He is excellent at hitting us where it hurts, giving us a virtual theatre to play out our worst fears. “You’ll never make it, and when you don’t, this how your life will fall apart.” & “You’re irretrievably broken, look at all the times you have had a ‘fresh start’” to name a few. These visions of demise are always so vivid and real, putting 2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV to the absolute test.

Satan is great at imposing stress and insecurity into our lives, because he knows the feeling all too well. His endgame of disintegration is just about as cemented as Lot’s wife and the layers of sediment on the ocean’s floors. He’s been nervous about how rough his end is going to be since he was promptly ejected out of heaven, which if it’s anything like Romans 16:20 MSG says (“… the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt.”), then he has ample grounds to be worried! Like most villains, Satan wasn’t evil from the beginning. He was actually an angel that dwelled with and worshipped God, until one day he became unsure of his identity and bumped his head on an evil ego rock, knocking him unconscious. When Lucifer woke a few hours later, he declared to himself, “I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High”, Isaiah 14:14 NIV and the rest is history.

If you go read Isaiah 14, it won’t read about Satan being knocked unconscious, I just applied my own embellishments on how he went from riches to rags, for personal understanding. At any rate, dissecting Satan into the feeble, fearful failure that he is, helps us to decrease him in our eyes and increase Jesus in our spirits.

Now, in light of all that, do we even have an enemy or it is just the shadow of a stuffed animal?

Until Thursday,

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Contentment.

Contentment

 

Whew…2018 really came in with a bang! I’ve been so busy, running around like that coyote who could never catch the Road Runner. Ironically, the opportunity to slow down did present itself today, when my initial plans fell through and in that unplanned quiet time, God laid this on my spirit.

It’s being okay with pages left unread in a book.

It’s finding solace in the quiet moments.

It’s cherishing those who love you most, even when they have a “funny” way of showing it.

It’s relinquishing the need to control every aspect of your life.

Late for a class because of a previous class? Accidentally ordered the wrong thing online? Misread a recipe? Forgot to turn off the lights before leaving?

Yeah, you’re human.

It’s not getting complacently comfortable in life but being consistently grateful.

You don’t have to take the entire world all in one day, just a municipality a day.

Some will be large and easy, others will be small and hard.

Whatever the size or challenge, you’ll rise up to it!

It’s loving the bit of cellulite on your arms, when it calls attention to itself in the gym mirrors .

It’s sitting alone to the outside world, but in actuality sitting with your true friends, Jesus and your angels.

It’s saying, “Thank God, you’re the final editor on my life’s story and not me!”, when you make mistakes.

It’s picking yourself up when you fall and thinking, “I’m blessed to be able to move on my own.”

 

It’s having nothing but everything you’ve ever wanted in life

It’s having perfect peace during life’s roaring sea

It’s surety of your due season

It’s seeing yourself and announcing “I love me!”

God is enamored with you, irregardless of who you are, and where you are (and even where you have been), so much that He sent a invaluable jewel in your place!

Until Sunday,

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2018: A Year of Surety

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Happy New Year, 2018 is going to be an awesome year! I’m excited and you should be too, regardless of how things look or feel…

I would consider myself fairly intelligent, with a moderate level of knowledge. There are a lot of things that I know, like my ABC’s/123’s, multiplication/division/addition/subtraction tables, that science alleges my closest genetic relative to be a monkey and that God’s Word remains through it all. Now, how much of my knowledge am I sure of? Well, let’s see…

The numeric and alphabetic systems were created by man, so their reliability is questionable. Mathematical orders of operations are only accomplished through the means of numeric systems, making me a bit skeptical of their accuracy. And science, a branch of knowledge that hinges soley on the oscillation of “newfound research” is definitely not something I would depend on. Give it another 50 years and some great someone will be saying, “The earth isn’t flat or round…it’s trapezoidal!”.

Now, I’m all for education, hence why I will be back in school next Monday (and at least another 4 years after that)! However, there is a significant difference between knowing something and being sure of it.  I would bet that every Christian knows that Jesus died so that they could have a peaceful and prosperous life, but how many are sure…without a shadow of doubt.

I tried to fly in 2017, spread my wings and reach beyond the skies, but the wind got caught in wings, because I was unsure of my purpose and God’s promise of provision. The rain weighed me down, as I ducked for cover during the storm, because I was unsure of my freedom and identity. My wings and body were weak because I was unsure of whether to cope with 1 Corinthians 13 or cupcakes.

My prayer is that 2018 will be a year of complete surety for you and your life! When the test reads failure, you can be sure that God has already made you a winner. When life says broken, you can be sure that Jesus died for your wholeness. Even Satan himself is sure that while his end is total disaster, your is total victory both in heaven and on earth!

2018: A Year of Surety…still a year to fly

Until Thursday,

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Oh Boy!

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Last week, my sister was reading a Christmas story that she had written for an homework assignment when she exclaimed “oh boy!”. Up until that point, I was listening enough to understand the general plot, but was definitely focused on other things. The enthusiasm of that little 8 year-old girl really resonated with me!

Oxford Dictionaries define “oh boy” as a phrase “used to express surprise or excitement.”

Hours later I was giving myself a prep talk about loving the life I lead and the precious price that Jesus paid, when God started up a very peculiar conversation with me.

“Oh boy!” God shouted.
“What?” I asked confused.
“Oh boy!”, that’s what King Herod said when my Son, Jesus was born.” God replied.

Flipping to Matthew 2, I immediately could hear a chorus of “oh boys!” from God and my sister!

“When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “[Oh boy!] Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?””
Matthew 2:3-4 MSG

Now the scripture doesn’t explicitly say that Herod said “oh boy!”, but since God said He did, and I wasn’t there to witness it myself, I’m sticking with His recollection. This baby who prophets have been talking about for years. This baby who in His infancy was already being called the “Prince of Peace” and “Wonderful Counselor”. This baby who had finally made his glorious appearance! King Herod was far from excited, but definitely surprised as well as terrified along with Satan himself. We all know how the story goes…King Herod attempts in vain to kill Jesus before He would save all of humanity, by ordering the murder of every boy born in Bethlehem under the age of two. But of course Jesus was saved by Joseph and the Three Wise Men’s obedience to God’s quick thinking angels.

Now I’m about to wrap this post in a nice bow…AD’s gift to you!

When Satan gets wind of the amazing and unprecedented plans God that is drawing up for your life, he desperately tries to halt them by any means necessary. Even if that involves assassinating your character, confidence, faith, self-esteem, emotions etc., just as Herod attempted (but failed) to kill Jesus in His infancy.

You’ve got such an unthinkably unique and outrageously extraordinary agenda assigned to you, that every time you breathe, Satan and his equally reprehensible schemers all are screeching “oh boy” or “oh girl” 🙂

The power that made the Word flesh in the form of Jesus, is the same power that also rose Him from grave. That same power flows throughout us, thanks to Jesus! Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to our Great and Selfless Savior…Jesus!

Until Thursday,

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Life’s Narrative

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“When you don’t like the narrative of your life, start drafting a new one! Never stop creating the story of your life; always be editing, adding and enhancing by God’s grace.”

I have been maintaining a “one sentence journal” since October, where I get one sentence to chronicle my day or anything that was important! Let’s just say that sometimes I break all the grammar rules with my run-on sentences 🙂 The above line was from this past Friday’s entry, which wasn’t necessarily inspired by anything in particular, besides an overall reflection on life.

Rumor has it that this time of the year is the hardest for some people, as they nurse broken relationships and unfulfilled goals. Sinking slower and deeper in despair. It doesn’t take much effort to flip the tattered and sloppily filled pages of our life’s book. Repairing the torn edges and rewriting over the past…now that takes some determination!

I know that it’s supposed to be “the most-happiest time of the year”, but I feel compelled to address those who this time doesn’t always manifest the best of memories. Whether your narrative is wonky by actions of your own and/or others, the chance to begin a new one is yours. Soley and completely…

Until Thursday,

P.S. Philippians 3:13-14 is always a place I like to visit when I can’t see progression between my past and present!

 

Added Dimensions

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A new leaf on life! We’ve all definitely heard that a million times (and even probably said it ourselves). But, I wonder how much truth is actually in that statement. Leaves die year after year, with us throwing them away in the winter and watching them bloom in the summer. Every year we are graced with new leaves to see.

Now our lives are an entirely different story. We are not cats…we don’t get nine lives to live! Leaves are thrown out, while we are expanded. God takes our mistakes and magnifies them, in a positive transforming light! We don’t have to perceive the past through the lens of wasted time and shame, as Jesus still sees us as worthy and righteous.

Our pasts imperfections are our perfect presents. Our deep ugly scars are our true beauty marks. The thing I love most about Jesus (besides him dying to save me and being ever so patient with me!) is that he is a shrewd remodeler and reviver. He takes us just as we are, not tossing us to the curb or pointing out our flaws, but loving on us. And what is even more amazing is that he has a unique plan drawn out for me, you and all the other 7 billion people on this people…no two are the same!

What is a painting without depth? A song without a riff or two? Or a book that doesn’t shock you? That is us without our mistakes…flaws…shortcomings. God truly is the master of all our pieces.

Until Thursday,

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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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Footprints

Footprints

On a serene beach blanketed with the purest and softest sand
One set of footprints start a journey of life
Footprints that are perfect in form, firmness and pattern.
Charting The Way.

The next day rolls in, with a new set of footprints appearing
Footprints falling shy of the perfectly formed ones that preceded them.
Following in The Way.

Days morph into weeks, and yet another set of footprints appear
Footprints who begin to lose not only the initial form but also their firmness.
Attempting to follow in The Way.

Months turns to years, and more sets of footprints make themselves
Footprints completely lacking in form, firmness
Strewn about in a fashion far from their predecessors.
No longer able to follow The Way.

The once clear Way is now in complete disarray.

And as years go by
The footprints continue to multiply
It is hard to see where the true path lies
Where things begin and end

Until.

The Path Straightener came upon this chaotic beach
Knowing that He was in the right place
He begun the process of The Way restoration.

Starting with the most deformed, shallow and scattered footprints
Then moving to the less shallow and more evenly distributed footprints
He’s taken aback by the two sets of footprints left
Both sets are strikingly similar in firmness and pattern
Almost.
There’s one set that is slightly off in form
A bit smaller than the other set
Removing this last set of footprints
The Path Straightener stands back and admires His work
Clearing this beach has been grueling
The rake splintered, cutting His hand
And the sun brutally baked His body

Parched and bloody He leaves, taking one last glance of the one set of footprints that are perfect in form, firmness and pattern.
Charting The Way.

Symbolism

1st set of footprints

  • The perfectly formed, firm and purposely placed footprints are those of God. His steps in our lives are sure.

2nd set of footprints

  • The next set mentioned was those of you and I, although we think we know what we are doing in our lives, we are still heavily dependent on God’s guidance.

3rd set of footprints

  • People, their opinions and the pressures of lives are symbolic of the third set of footprints mentioned. Listening to the stresses of life and others can be extremely confusing!

4th set of footprints

  • And the footprints that were in complete mayhem are those of none other than Satan himself. Oh boy doesn’t he leave a wake of chaos wherever he and his puppets venture.

The Path Straightener

  • Typical Jesus, clearing our slates and purifying our hearts, gifting us a chance we truly don’t deserve. Cleaning up all our messes, no matter how at fault we may be for it.

Since, I’ve probably written way more than anyone wants to read, I’ll end it here! I hope you can see what God showed me this morning and have an amazing week!

I dedicate this post to today’s birthday girl, my mother, the one who has always modeled how to let God and only God lead one’s life…

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