destiny

200 Feet

So if you havIMG_0350e watched TV anytime recently you may have seen a the Toyota Corolla commercial with the car driving around a winding mountain while dark, and the only light coming from the car. During the dramatic scene the narrator makes this statement, “Wherever it is you want to go, all you need to see is the next 200 feet.” Now I have seen this commercial several times, but that particular line always sticks out to me, because though it is based on the worthiness of the car, it is very relevant to how we live life.

Like the blackness of the mountain, there is the fear and anxiousness of what we can’t see, the unknown, and the uncertainty of the next move, yet all that we really need is that short span of light to take the next stride. Our focus should be on that light so that we can stay focused on what is in front of us at all times and not get distracted by what we can’t see, because yes there are dangers on the road like bad weather, other drivers, and bears as shown, and at times we are privy to actually experience them. Anyway, focusing on those 200 feet also allows us not to dwell on what it behind us. The past is the past, and though it does have its role, there is far less light to give attention to what is behind us. Well that’s nice, huh? I just answered all of life’s hardest questions…hardly.

To be serious, this commercial reminds me of a verse in the book of Psalm, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”    The obvious truth here is that life is full of dark mountains, otherwise there is no need for a light, but draw attention to where the light is, at tlamp 2he feet. As I heard it explained before, it’s like whlampen we use a flashlight walking through the house at night especially when there are stairs involved. We don’t usually shine the light straight ahead of us, but rather down at our feet, just enough so we can see the very next step, maybe two. Even a light on a path is not that bright, just enough light to guide you to the next, like a lantern or street light even.

As the Lord has shown me, we can’t handle the big picture all at once of where the Lord is taking us, because as mentioned before, we get distracted, try to rush, get too excited and try to skip steps that are crucial to reaching our destination in tact, or get discouraged by where we are at the moment, and or what all we will have to go through to reach out destiny. This whole journey is about faith, trusting an unknown future to a God who is all-knowing. It’s a matter of going through the process trusting that the light we have been given to lead and guide us has a fire or bulb that will never burn out.

And yeah, if you are like me, you desire that piece of control that wants the whole map and the lights ogods plann the road to shine as far as the ending destination, but in the Lord’s wisdom, He does things otherwise. Now many times we do have a vision, that is knowing where we anticipate arriving, but I think I can safely say that we never know what is really in between the start and end point. But it’s around those winding roads and mountains we learn to trust God, develop courage, perseverance and patience, wisdom and understanding; we learn to love and care for others on the journey and those that may be in the car with us; we begin to appreciate the beauty of the simplest things we wouldn’t normally give notice; we are kept from veering off in the wrong direction. It’s the dark “in between” we learn to be ourselves for a purpose, ensuring that we are all we need to be once we reach our destiny. So whether you only see 200 feet or 2 feet in front of you, remember that you are being lead by the One who created even the most treacherous of mountains and terrains, and the next step is all you need to see.

 

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Fairytales & Dragons

By definition, a fairy tale is a tale that involves some fantasy characters that possess some power or ability. When thinking of these childhood stories, the connotation seems to be little girls, glitter, rainbows, and unicorns; sweet, perfect, and innocent. As a result, the bigger picture is often missed.

In the Christian life somehow, there is the theory that life is meant to be perfect and without struggle or hardship for those in the faith; that couldn’t be further from the truth. The idea of “happily ever after” is somehow associated with “no more trouble,” but when you remove the frills, fluff, and fairies from these stories, you see something much different, as I learned reading a devotion.

In all of these fantastical stories, there is struggle, there is death, there is disappointment, loneliness, uncertainty and doubt, fairytalejealousy, and fear. For these individuals (i.e. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Snow White, Rapunzel, etc.) to become all they hoped or dreamed, they had to face dragons, unpleasant circumstances, and wicked people, most of the time people closest to them. They were mistreated and take advantage of, and belittled many times to nothing, with no value. So much in so that their friends many times were not other people, but animals and things found in nature. How different are we from them? All of us have face any one or a combination of these things on a day-to-day basis, some more intense than others. It’s like, there is no “happily ever after” without the “painful ever before.” Still, even after the characters got their miracle, there was always a sequel. The same applies to us.

In order to get to where God would have us walk in all He has for us, whatever far away land you are aiming for, whatever castle you are trying to reach, whatever prince or maiden you are praying for, whatever glory within you that has been suppressed over the years that you are trying to let shine, whatever chains or tower that has had you bound you are trying to escape from, or whoever that person is inside of you that you are attempting to discover, there will be dragons. Some that are more ferocious than others, and there will be a fight, there will be tears, and there will be blood, and that’s just before, because even after you slay one dragon or put it in its place, another enemy will arise to hinder you from going forth.

All in all, when you think of fairytales, yeah, they are pretty and hopeful, but you can’t neglect the fight and the struggle, for without it, there is no story or tale to be told; there is no excitement or reason for faith. It is in the struggle, like many of the characters, that you find your own inner strength, power and value, beauty, purpose and worth; you realize that you can stand amongst the enemy and can make a difference even if that means going against what the culture or society or family has told you. It’s the struggle that proves that you can do anything and all things are possible, which is often far more than you can ever imagined.

The beautiful thing about our story, is that we don’t have to fight alone; God is right there in the midst through it all as our peace and comfort when times get rough, and sometimes He does fight the battle for us. He hears every tear, even those when we are in our closets late at night for no one to see or hear; He knows our every need and desire. He knows our tale and where we came from, who we are and where we have the potential to go. Yet, like the characters in the fairytales, it’s the moment we decide to step out on faith, despite our fear and get our of our comfort zone, refusing to settle for the ordinary and choosing not to be a victim, that our story, our life begins to change. And truth be told, things may even get more complicated and worse than it was, but that’s because the Enemy never likes change; he doesn’t like it when God’s children have hope and begin to believe and walk in the abundance of a life in Christ. But as I have to remind myself, greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world, and no matter what new trials or heavy fire the Dragon is blowing my way, I know that God will never leave me nor forsake me, and that He has equipped me to defeat the Enemy.

You can’t hope for the fairytales or want the “happily ever after” if you aren’t willing to face the dragons. It’s the fight that opens the door to your destiny to be all you were made to be.

Defeat the dragons and be you for a purpose.

Be Necessary

The first two verses of Romans chapter 12, are probably two of the most influential verses of the Christian community, but it is the second verse that I want to highlight here.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

That verse is loaded with so many things. Following Christ is all about going against the norm, doing the unexpected, taking risks, and witnessing the unimaginable. God calls His children to be separate, to be different. When you look up the word conform, you get some interesting definitions. Conforming is to accept, be similar, do what is expected, or comply with accepted standard. In this case, we should by no means accept the world’s standards or be similar to its thinking, or do what the world expects you to do. We should be the black sheep; it’s expected that a homosexual cannot be delivered; prove the world wrong. It’s common for people to have sex before marriage; beat the statistics. It is natural for people to live with a “every man for himself mentality” and only the strong survive; the greatest man that ever walked Earth was the greatest servant. It is expected for people to walk away from their marriage or children at the first sign of trouble; seek to fix what is broken. It’s the norm for people to think that alcohol, drugs, and pills are the way to fix or drown a problem; cast your cares on Him. Normalcy says that you can only be worth anything if you have money, a good stable job, and or a college degree; God has done so much more with people who had so much less. The world says you don’t need God; I am nothing without Him and I can do nothing apart from Him.

As a child of the Most High, we should stick out like a soar thumb, and even if no one were to ever hear you say the name Jesus, his influence over your life should scream from the mountain top by how you act, speak, and treat others.

The biggest world changers were and are those that do what is not normal or go against the grain. Lisa Bevere said it this way, “don’t conform or compromise to be included. If you’re just like ‘every one else’ your contribution is unnecessary.” Living a life of purpose means that you are not conforming to the way of the world, rather you are just living in it. By conforming, you seek to be accepted, and thus you do what is necessary to fit in. The danger is that when you fit in, you lose who God created you to be, and ultimately miss out on your destiny, because only your true self can do and handle all that is locked up in the Heavens waiting to be bestowed upon you. When you conform, you become a copy cat, and there is never a need for a copy cat, because copy cats are very easily replaceable, but once you choose not to conform or compromise, refusing to be just like “every one else,” the world will see that what you have to offer what one else can; there is only one you, past, present, or future. The world needs you not a clone of someone else; when you understand your identity in Christ and walk in the very essence of who you are, you will be an irreplaceable necessity to the world.

So, I encourage you to be you for a purpose, because it is you that the world needs, your beauty, your personality, you talents, your strengths, your gifts, your faith, your hope, your style, your thoughts, and your ideas. God took His time and created you perfectly just the way He wanted, and the moment we decide to embrace it, that’s when God can execute and multiply His greatness through us.

The world needs you, so be you and no one else.

Man of Steel, (Wo)Man of Spirit

I am not a big Superman lover, other than Dean Cain, but I did in fact see “Man of Steel” not too long ago, and I did fairly enjoy Henry Cavill. However, it wasn’t until this last time I watched it that God encouraged my heart, and thus this post.

In the beginning, Clark parents decide to put the Codex, the power of a race, in him to man of steelpreserve their people, and had to send him to Earth, knowing he would stick out, but possibly help it. When I was thinking about that, it reminded me of God and how he put his Spirit, all of Heaven’s power, in us as believers, and we are called to stick out, but it’s that power we have that can change and impact the world.

As Clark grows up, he becomes overwhelmed by his gifts and often times is frustrated and afraid. His journey is all about learning to control his powers, rather than his gifts control him. In the same way, our life of purpose provides us gifts that if not used properly, can prove to be too much, thus God has to prune and purge us, so that we can properly develop and strengthen our gifts. Truth be told, sometimes our gifts scare us and we are afraid of what God is ultimately calling us to do, and it never helps when there are the naysayers and those that always have something to say and will criticize you at every chance they get. But remember, as a child of God with purpose, people are supposed to talk about you; they talked about Jesus, It may make you cry and may make you want to give up, but there is greater yet to come if you hang on.

The most profound line, in my opinion, is found in the first 25 minutes of the movie. When Clark is in the classroom, his powers start to kick in overdrive and he runs out the classroom and hides. Let me stop here and say, don’t hide from your gift and or your purpose. God gave it to you, He chose you for a reason. It was then that his teacher called his mother who came to console him and made this statement, “focus on my voice.” I was floored. There are so many voice that we are out there some that sound reasonable, but are still just plain wrong. When you live a life of your God-given purpose, you will have to block out all the other voices you hear in books, on social media, in music, on television, in politics, from family and friends, etc. Nevertheless, God is saying the same things Clark’s mother said to him, “focus on My voice.”

God’s voice is the only one that matters. He is the only one who understands what is inside of you and wants to be your support, refuge, and strength. His voice knows your destination and your future. It’s only His ‘yes’ that matters, even when everyone else says ‘no.’ So, to whoever is reading this, focus only on His voice, which means getting into His word, calling out to him, believing he will answer and show up every time, as Cal did with his Kryptonian father, and surrounding yourself with like-minded and like-spirited people. Still, the story isn’t over.

As Clark grows up and begins to accept his gift, there are many times he wants to use it, but his father won’t let him, because he doesn’t think the world is ready for what he has to offer. In the same way, you may feel like you are ready and that this is your season to break free and make your mark on the world. I encourage you to have discernment, many times we think we are ready, but God is saying “not yet My child,” because we may have some maturing to do. Other times, as for Clark, the world just isn’t ready for your full glory to show, and at times you may show glimpses of it, enough for people to notice the greatness locked inside of you, but don’t get prideful. God, your Heavenly Father, is Sovereign and knows best so just wait on Him, and sooner than later, you will hear him say, “this is your time. You are ready. The world is ready.”

It is then that Superman was born, but it happened at a time of fear and struggle, and as it often times happens here, God usually calls us off guard or when we least expect it, and like Superman you are thrust into your calling, which is why the Scriptures say “be ye also ready, in season and out of season.” More importantly, don’t doubt God. Of course, Satan, like general Zod, will try to misuse and destroy you and or your gift, or make you doubt or question it or belittle what’s inside of you. but you are an overcomer, so keep fighting and  “keep testing your limits,” don’t doubt yourself or your gifts.

I am so sure of Jesus and who he is for the simple fact that even when people attempt to discredit or devalue or cover him up, he still leaves footprints if you watch for them, and this movie is no different. You are a super man or a super woman, and you are called to be different and for people to talk about you, but you are destined for greatness and are the hope, like the ‘S’ symbol on Superman’s chest, that the world has yet to see and so desperately needs. Don’t be afraid, don’t run, don’t hide, but rather embrace and learned the gifts and the power that is inside of you. And when that moment comes, you. will. fly. And the world will never be the same.

Irreplaceable or Not So Much?

One thing is that is popular in Christian culture is the belief that God is so loving, He is a friend, a big-brother, sometimes almost like a fuzzy teddy-bear you can talk to about anything and hug tight, and the belief that He has amazing plans for our lives. Now don’t get me wrong these things, minus the fuzzy teddy-bear, to are true and there are Biblical verses to back each of these up. However, in the midst of all the fuzziness, I think that we lose sight of what God is, a holy, righteous, all-powerful Being, whose every word that goes forth does not return void.

I think the problem that we have is that we think we are doing God a favor when we decide to follow Him, when in reality it is the complete opposite; it is an undeniable honor and privilege to be chosen by a God whose train of His robe filled His temple and has unimaginable creatures that call Him holy non-stop. Far too many of us take for granted God’s love for us and play with God like a tease, as if He needs us to accomplish His purpose. In my humble opinion, that is furthest from the truth. The moment we think God can’t operate without us, the moment we defeat ourselves.

Instead, I would say He doesn’t need us, He just desperately wants us. To me, that’s even more awesome, to know that the God who SPOKE the earth, the heavens, and the universes into existence and can very easily do what He wants when He wants how He wants, desires to use me as a vessel. That is incredible and just blows my mind. The Lord by no means had any reason to call any of us, but He did. We are sinful, wretched, messed up, and selfish people apart from the blood, but God still wanted us to be His. This should make us even more excited to go after and fulfill the purpose He has destined each of us individually, because He saw something in us that many times we never see for ourselves. He wants to take the scars, the brokenness, the failures, and somehow fit it into His master plan.

These thoughts come from several different places, somethings I heard years prior and some fairly recent, but it was Esther 4:13-14 that brought it home for me. In this part of the story Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, was trying to get her to help save the Israelites, and after she gives her reasons for apprehension, he pretty much tells her that she is not blessed for no reason and that God can still do what He needs to through someone else if she didn’t step up. First off, the same things apply in that we are blessed to be a blessing, no matter how little we think we have. We are not to be selfish people that only look out for “mine.” Our position, gifts, talents, skills, are not to be hoarded or disregarded, for God is very strategic in how He places people, but it’s the following verse that explains what I have been saying. He tells her that she very much can bring deliverance for the Jews, but if she decides to just chill out, God will use someone else, and she herself will not be saved.

The Lord’s patience is amazingly perfect, because it’s not unusual that God has to ask us over and over to do things. Like Esther, someone’s life hangs in the balance of our obedience whether we realize it or not. Furthermore, when we don’t pursue to discover and fulfill our purpose, we find ourselves dead, maybe not physically, but often times mentally and spiritually, and dissatisfied in life. (Another verse of reference here is Matthew 16:25.) On the other hand, people have shared that because of their disobedience, a person they were supposed to minister to in one way or another, died or suffered.

Nevertheless, praise God for the Esthers, those that may have needed some persuasion, but heard the call and were not afraid to put it all on the line (Esther 4:16), but believing their purpose was bigger than their own life.

Irreplaceable, in the sense that there is no other you past, present, or future, absolutely, but in the sense that we determine God’s will from being done or not, maybe not. He will get His work done with or with out you or me, so I don’t know about you, but I am willing to be drafted and willing to fight if I know I’m going to win, even if the battle looks otherwise. The Lord is gracious and created us for His glory and sent His Son to restore us back to Him so that He can use us to impact the world with His love, despite how backwards, slow moving, impatient, stubborn, lazy, irrational, needy, clueless and selfish we are. He wants you. He chose you. So go and act like it on purpose, for His purpose.