god

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.

 

Beautiful Mercy for Ugly Sin

This love letter is amazing. As I read it and study more, the more I learn the heart of God and how much He truly loves me in spite of. Anyhow, there are four people that come to mind when I think of those that Satan very specifically targeted, not just a demon: Peter, Job, Judas, and David. Of course there may be others, but they are all I got. The first three I mentioned you are probably familiar with, but still going through Chronicles, I read about Satan’s encounter with David, and the story I knew but Satan’s role was unfamiliar.

Briefly, Satan was attempting to bring down Israel and used David to do so, by swaying him to pride and mistrust. You can read 1 Chronicles 21 for all the details. By counting the people David’s pride caused him to think that his success as the king thus far was by him alone, and what he had attained and accomplished was his doing. On the other hand, in doing so it was another slap in God’s face because it was as if David didn’t really believe the promise God made to multiply. He didn’t trust that God was doing what He said He would do. What I find the most intriguing are the events thereafter.

After David realized what had happened and God dealt with him, he was driven to build an altar and make a sacrifice to compel the Lord to stop the plague. However, in doing so, due to his guilt and shame, he nearly backed out because he was afraid, but the mercy of God is incredible. For the same place where David humbled himself after being so full of himself that God had to correct him, the place that represented one of his most costly mistakes and or sins, God still used it to build His temple.

So often in our own lives we mess up big and God has to deal with us, but when He does it’s in such a way that only He can get glory. God takes our mistakes and creates miracles. He uses our faults and failures as building blocks to an amazing testimony of His faithfulness, mercy and power. And truth be told, like David, it can be scary coming to God knowing just how flat out wrong we were, but His compassions are new every morning and His love endures forever. Coming to Him with a repented and humbled heart, the Lord is always willing to receive us with open arms. God will take the very thing hurt us and use it as a platform to help us and to see His promises come to fruition. David prepared the way for his son, Solomon, to build the temple of the Lord in the same place he built an altar.

In the end of his preparations for the next generation who would build the temple, David encouraged them. (See 1 Chronicles 22:17-19). He reminded them that the Lord was with them and everything was taken care of, so all they needed to do was focus on the task. He told them to devote and seek the Lord and begin to build the sanctuary so that things could be set in place.

The same speaks for us. We must continually seek the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33) and surrender all of who we are to Him, heart, mind, body and soul (Matt. 22:37). As we do so, we begin to build our temples, our bodies, the place where the Holy Spirit resides (1 Cor. 3:16) and we allow those precious fruit and sacred things of God to fill our hearts and minds that will give witness to the name of Christ, like joy, peace, forgiveness, love, and hope. These things will give room for the work of God to go forth in our lives and through our lives that the Name of the Lord may be known by whoever interacts with us as we use our gifts, talents, passions, and abilities to usher in His presence and leave His sweet aroma wherever we go. We have to prepare the way and give God the ugly things, the broken things, the sin that hinders the process, so that His beautiful mercy and love can cover it and be our foundation to build on. In doing so we have mastered the art of being ourselves for a purpose.

Lessons from Eden: Part III

So recently in a weekly group I attend we’ve discussed the first three chapters of Genesis, creation and the fall of man, and oh my, there is so much more to the story. I have written in the past about lessons from the Garden, but there are some more that I want to share that my eyes were just opened to see.

tree of the kgeFirst off, one of the lingering questions in the story is where Adam was during the whole conversation between Eve and the Serpent. Well in reading, the Bible does assume he was there, but how close is up for discussion. Nevertheless, lets assume that he in fact was there beside Eve as she was talking to the snake. The first lesson here is that silence is not always golden. Especially considering that he was the leader of that home, he should have spoken up when the Serpent began to misquote God’s word, but he didn’t because maybe he was just shocked that the snake was speaking or intrigued by what it was saying. Still, as we often do today, he didn’t speak up because he possibly didn’t see the threat in the lie that Serpent was speaking or in the Serpent himself who was said to be subtle and cunning. This very act of silence that we see here has shown it’s effects on our society. These subtle lies and doubts that the Enemy has whispered in our ears to make us question or reinvent the Word of God has desensitized us and confused even Christians as to what is right and wrong, and our society has greatly fallen because of it. It emphasizes our need to have continuous fellowship with God, as they did in the Garden, because for that brief time they were apart from God for one reason or the other, Satan slipped in and well, here we are today. God’s word is the truth and we must speak up for Christians have been silent for far too long and sin has prevailed in this society because of it, but yet we want to be popular and accepted and don’t want people to look at us weird or call us names, yet that is what was promised when we signed up to be followers of Christ. Now more than ever we need to not only speak up with the Word of God no matter how small or trivial the matter seems, but live a corresponding life showing that right is right and wrong is wrong.

As just said, for that brief moment Adam and Eve were not walking with God as they had done pretty much every day, so what happened? I don’t know, but what I do know is that we all miss the mark at times and for one reason or another we get out of touch with God. That doesn’t mean we just become heathens overnight, but perhaps we get too busy or life gets so chill that we forget our need for God, yet it’s that time we are out of fellowship that the Enemy likes to attack us and makes us question who God is, who we are and what we are supposed to do as he did with Eve. Our priorities get mixed up, we become anxious and worrisome, questioning the power and provision of God, pride sets in, and or we become apathetic, and before we even realize it, our thinking begins to change and that space between us and God thickens, our language changes, and sooner or later we fall into sin, whether worry, cussing, fornication, getting drunk, pride, bitterness, anger, jealousy, or whatever your vice may be.

So we mess up to some degree or another and feel so icky that we do the worse thing and pull away from God completely out of guilt, like Adam and Eve. We try to hide ourselves and our sin as if God doesn’t already know. We are afraid to pray, stop listening to devotionals, block out people from our lives, stop going to church because we feel so ashamed of what we did or how far off track we’ve gotten, because we don’t want people’s perceptions to change about us or let down those that looked up to us. So like Adam and Eve, we go under a rock or hide in a bush and put on a mask so no one can really see us. But God in His awesome love, grace, and mercy went out looking for them even though he was well aware of what they had done. He does the same with us, we just have to be willing to respond like Adam. God didn’t jump on their case or write them off from history because of their sin, but instead he covered them, though there were still consequences. As a body of believers, we should have the same mindset of God and should someone go missing from church or you notice a different pattern of behavior or attitude, reach out to them and show them the way home without automatically condemning or judging them, but show them the same grace, mercy, and love God showed to you. Yet, we neglect to do that far too often for a long time now and so many have slipped through the cracks and have been forgotten. So as much as you are able, check up on each other.

The last thing I want to point out that was pointed out to me is that God said not to eat of the tree originally, yet Eve told the Serpent that they were not to touch it nor eat it. Credit to her. Why? From Eve, this simple recall shows a great sense of maturity that we can apply today by not touching sin. Far too often we tease sin and put ourselves in compromising situations because we want the experience or we want to see how far we can get without actually sinning, but how much does that go as planned. More times than not we go further then we desired and do what we said we wouldn’t do and things get messy. We just wanted to touch it. This lesson from Eve urges us to just completely abstain from sin as much as we can, whatever is in our control, the choices we make every day. Though we can only control so much and get tempted, through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God we are able to not touch, preventing us from tasting the fruit.

This is one of the more lengthy posts I’m sorry, but I’m glad I was able to share and I hope and pray it blessed and encouraged you. Take these lessons from Eden and use them every day to more and more be you for a purpose.

If you want to check out other lessons from Eden, check them out on the links below:

Lessons from Eden

Lessons from Eden: Part II

Jewel of the Garden

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.

Love Tips

Love is something you see all the time. People have different ideas of what it is or what it should look like, specifically as it pertains to romantic relationships between a man and a woman. And recently there were two quotes, for lack of a better term. that really grabbed my attention and I think will help those who are willing to listen.

“The characteristic of love is spontaneity.”

When I read that in a devotional actually, the premise was not so much on romantic, though somewhat inferred, but it was referring to the dynamic of the Holy Spirit’s movement in us. To further my point, how many times has God surprised you, or left you guessing, or made you wait, or told you to do something crazy, or led you way outside of your comfort zone? He does it all that time. Even in the New Testament it speaks a lot about the mysteries of Christ and how mysterious God can be at times, and for me that is much of what keeps me in wonder about God and who He is because, there is so much to Him, I’m on the edge of my seat wondering what He will do next. And the more He reveals Himself to me, the more our relationship deepens and the more I learn about who I am. God is not boring and the lie of Satan is anything otherwise. He never ceases to amaze me.

The same applies for our relationships.

The beauty of growing with another person, the person God allowed you to be with, is that you learn more and more about them, the good and the bad. It’s about the journey that you take together, but it’s those unexpected moments that define the truth of a relationship. So often I hear of marriages failing because it became mundane, someone (or both) got board, or someone (or both) fell out of love, or the other person wasn’t willing to do something different. Am I condoning those reasons? Absolutely not, but I think it speaks volumes as to how God intended us to love out significant others. It should be spontaneous and exciting, even in intimate settings, because it keeps you guessing and excited. That element of surprise does wonders, especially as a female. Spontaneity is where life happens; it’s where you see the depths of another person and allows you to be free to be yourself, and not be afraid to be imperfect. It does require a lot of patience though. All in all, it keeps the attention and focus at home, because time and time again we see that the moment someone else offers something more than the mundane, problems occur. Follow the example of the Holy Spirit and switch it up a bit, and if one thing doesn’t work, well, try something else. The journey is all about the story and the memories created and those times you realized why you fell in love.

However, not all surprises are honky dory.

“Love, a rare commitment to care for another regardless of the response.”

The cross is the perfect example of this. Despite of how we treat him, no matter how unfaithful we are, despite how much we fall, despite the times we reject him, Jesus still chose and chooses to love us, leaving his arms wide open for us to come to him. The truth is that we can try in any form or any way to love God as much as He loves us, but no human mind could ever fathom just how deep, wide, high, and long his love is for us. We could never repay Him for what He has done for us. His type of love is so rare, even in the church. It’s hard to find that unconditional love in any type of relationship, that sincere “I don’t care” kind of love. Granted, that does require wisdom and discernment. Nevertheless, Christ’s love for us will never run out, no matter the type of response we give Him, of course that doesn’t mean act any way you feel or think you won’t be judged, but that is another blog for another time.

As many can attest, those who have been in long relationships, there are those times you were caught way off guard by your significant other. Now, another disclaimer, this is not speaking of the extreme circumstances, but rather those imperfections that sometimes make us question the relationship. But love is all about those growing pains, because real love is not perfect. There are plenty of low points and valleys, but through the grace of God, assuming we are in fact living in His will, we must continue to love. Relationships begin on that eros and phileo type of love, but it lasts only on that agape love, because there will be plenty times you really don’t like each other. However, the commitment you make is to be a light even when the other is being all but pleasant for whatever reason. All in all, it comes down to loving that person, with fervent and intentional prayer, being patient and caring the way God continues to be with you, because that moment we do get back in line, no matter what it takes to get there, the solidarity of the relationship grows and that love reaches such a deep place that will be a testament for the generations to come.

Be you for a purpose and love hard, love deep, and be spontaneous as only you can, and get ready to be amazed by what happens in your relationships and in your life.