Mini Bites 13.0

Seasons lead into other seasons. What you do in one builds into the next. Don't forget what you learned from your previous experiences because they will equip you and prepare you for the future. What you learn in the desert helps you appreciate the good things in your paradise but it doesn't stop there. When you find yourself in a dry season again, you can say with full assurance the promise found in Psalm 27:13-14: "I am still confident in this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." 

Mini Bites 12.0

Sometimes God will place you in front of someone who likes you and wants to be good to you and you don't have to do a thing. You don't need to become someone else. You don't need to do or wear the latest trend. 
You are a masterpiece, invest in yourself!
Build upon the treasure God placed inside of you. God knew what He was doing when He made you. Don't get mad at Him as if He made a mistake. God makes no error and you are not an anomaly. You are His finest possession. Work with what He graced you with.
Esther met Xerxes four years after he started looking for a replacement. He met countless of girls before Esther. And remember he was seeing the best of the best, each woman was probably more beautiful than the last, then came Esther. History could have influenced Xerxes to just enjoy her now and send her away later because better might be coming up but no! The king was so enthralled with Esther that he stopped looking, not caring about those who came before her and those who might come after her. This is all to say that if God says that something is for you,  it is for you. No man can shut a door that God opens and no man can open a door that God closed for you. (Revelation 3:8)
You don't have to fight, or beg for your blessing because it has your name on it and it will not stop until it finds you, ready and willing to receive it.

Mini Bites 11.0

You are a role model, regardless if you signed up for the position or not. People watch you even when you think no one sees you and they might mimic you or mock you. Especially as a Christian, people will have their eyes on you, making sure you walk the Christian talk.
So are you displaying God's grace and truth? Don't worry about people's opinions of you, your only concern is God's opinion. So are you working and living as if it's all unto Him? Colossians 3:23-24
Are you keeping in mind His standards as you go through your life? Or does your flesh get in the way?
In the chapter, Queen Vashti's reasoning was never disclosed because in the greater schemes of things, it doesn't matter how you feel. When God calls you, you answer and tell your flesh to shut up.
God always calls you against your flesh which tries to convince you that you're not equipped, worthy or you couldn't be bothered with it. He calls you against what is easy so you can do what is hard in His strength.

Mini Bites 10.0

The Israelites referred to Moses as "this fellow" as if he didn't just bring them out of Egypt by God's own strength. They allowed time to erode the amazing truth that God is mighty, God saves and God provides. They forgot His goodness and they took their eyes off of Him and focused on things they could manipulate, things that were close by. They could not wait on God because they forgot why He was worthy of the wait in the first place.
When time passes by, it becomes harder to remember what He has done for you, especially if you have your eyes set on what other people are getting while you are still waiting. The wait involves trust; it involves faith. 
In order to wait, you have to trust that the one thing you'll finally say yes to will be worth more than everything you'll ever say no to. In order to have patience, you have to believe that all the rejections you are experiencing now will pale in comparison to that one acceptance coming your way.
In the desert, in the dry seasons, do not let bad habits resurface. This is the time to stir yourself up with expectancy, to remind yourself of what God has done for you and that He will continue to be good to you in the future. You have to start trusting, believing and waiting on the fulfillment of His promise. He has not brought you this far to leave you right outside of the promised land. 
Don't give up. Don't turn away. Keep waiting on God and keep trusting in Him. 
He is so worthy!

When You Just Don't Feel Called

My friend, E, teased her about taking her sweet time and how her future husband would need lots of patience. And she responded, "Of course he will have lots of patience because he is catered to be with me."

Then she turned to me and said that my future husband is looking for me as I am, quirks and all, that I didn't need to change anything because he will come to love everything that I may hate about myself.

That word really encouraged me but God wasn't done using her yet and continued to bless me with her prayer.

She then talked about my writings and I looked up at my friend. E smiled at me and shook her head no, signifying that she didn't tell her friend about my future plans. I then listened to the woman ask God to bless my writings and my voice and open doors of opportunities for me.

At that moment, I knew I was making the right decision, that I wasn't out of God's will, that He was leading me and making my paths straight.

That was this past summer...

However lately, I've been feeling like I've called myself to this particular season in my life. I packed up my bags and moved across the country to another sunny state only to feel like that God is not here and I am utterly alone.

I know that's not true, I know that God will never forsake me, never leave me and I know I am supposed to be here but my reality and my perception of being called by God are clashing cause they don't fit at all.

For example, Luke 5 paints the picture of what I believe is God's anointing on someone's life. Jesus told Peter, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." and Peter follows Jesus' orders and "they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break." So much so, that Peter had to ask for help from his partners. 

Blessings upon blessings filled Peter's nets and he knew that his life has changed from that moment on. It was obvious that Jesus was doing something magnificent through him.

But my reality is not like that at all. I haven't caught one fish, not even a goldfish (where do you find those by the way?)

I'm struggling to believe His word when the things that I thought God called me to be aren't coming into fruition. I don't see how His plans for me will become real life. They are just dreams at this point. Crazy, delusional dreams.

I'm feeling like how John the Baptist felt in Luke 7. He finds himself in jail after preparing the pathway for Jesus to come in. And then, the order comes out that he has to be beheaded. So he's probably thinking, "Uhhh... if Jesus is the Savior and all, why isn't He saving me?"

A valid question that keeps popping into my own mind for these past few weeks.

I thought I would be further along in my life by this age. I thought I would be married or at least in a serious relationship by now. I thought I would be so much more confident at this time. I thought I would be more able to take on the plans God has for me. But that is not the truth.

Sometimes I feel like I'm in a retrograde setting. Progress comes hard in my life and going forward is too difficult for me.

And I find myself, like John, screaming out to God, "Are You the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?"

Did You really call me?
Or am I mistaken?
Did I hear You wrong?
Are You even aware with what is happening with me?
Do You even care?

If you're anything like me, we keep throwing our doubts, our questions and our accusations toward God and don't wait for His response because usually we aren't looking to be comforted. No, we want action that support our desires and our needs.

John wants to be saved from his circumstance but Jesus doesn't do that for John and He rarely does it for me. Instead, Jesus says, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who doesn't fall away on account of Me."

John's response is not recorded in the bible but if I was him, I would have said, "That is awesome, Jesus but what about me? What are you going to do in my life? I need you so what are you gonna do for me?"

I sound pretty selfish but when I hear and read everyone's story about their Jesus encounter, I compare and wonder where is He in my life...

Because right now I feel like I am in the desert, circling the same mountain of insecurity and lack and I feel so alone and abandoned and as if I wasn't made to handle the God-sized dream given to me, however, Jesus' response to John reminds me that it doesn't matter how I feel, it doesn't matter where I find myself because Jesus is still Jesus, the Lord and Savior of my life and God is still God and He is still good and able to make everything work out for my good and His glory.

There will be times when you are in the trenches, when you are in jail and wonder if God really called you to this life, if He cares about you, if He's even with you but you have to remind yourself of His promises to you and what He has done for you.
We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, neither height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands, your walls are ever before Me. Isaiah 49:16
For I know the plans I have for you... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you... Jeremiah 29:11-14
Sometimes He won't deliver you from certain storms or fires but you have to remember that you will come forth better than you came in and with no hair singed by the flames or drenched by the rain.

Don't allow your feelings to dictate how you should live your life. Don't become idle with your walk with God when you feel as if He is nowhere to be found. Stir yourself up with expectancy, keep reading the Word, continue pouring your heart out to Him and remind yourself that what He did for you before, He is certainly capable of doing it again for you now and in the future.

With God, the best is always yet to come. Don't give up. Don't turn away. Keep waiting and trusting in Him because God is so worthy!

Mini Bites 9.0

Your purpose in life is not outside of God. Your purpose is in Him. You cannot separate the two. Once you realize that truth you will see that you can't divine the stars, look into your palms or look to other people to see where you have to go or what decision to make. You look to Him. You rely on Him. You trust in Him and your steps will be made straight.
And it won't be easy. People and things will distract you. The path will be hard. Sometimes you'll think it isn't worth it. You'll feel as if it's futile, that you keep coming up empty, that you can't find Him or even hear Him. But that's a lie from the enemy, so keep on digging into the Word, keep seeking His face, you keep on pouring your heart out to Him and He will reveal Himself to you.
Don't ever give up. God is so worth the find. He'll reward you for your persistence with plans and promises that you can't even imagine. And so much more.
Don't give up!

Olivia Pope and the Call for Transparency

How many words can be used to describe Olivia Pope?

A lot.

She is beautiful, intelligent, charismatic, strong, formidable, compassionate, a ruthless crusader for the weak.

The list goes on and on and includes the word... flawed. Tragically flawed.

Yea, I cringe at that too. A black woman as a major character on a prime-time television show and she has to have an imperfection?!

Pope gets weak knees around the president. She can't seem to keep her wits about her to realize that allowing the president to kiss her, to whisper sweet nothings into her ear stands against everything that was ingrained within her. She becomes a mistress when she could be a wife. She fantasizes about living in Vermont making jam with Fitz and their four kids when she is fully capable of ruling the world.

And I am not against that. I want to become a wife and a mother one day; those are two of  my goals in life. But I refuse to attain them while breaking up a marriage and compromising my morals. I will do it right at the right time... but I didn't mean to go off in a tangent.

What I really want to talk about is the vulnerability that Shonda Rhimes created within Olivia Pope.

Be honest, if there was no fault in Olivia Pope, if she could do no wrong would Scandal be as popular as it is right now? Would countless people tune in each week to watch the show if Pope was perfectly flawless?

Yea, you can get mad at some of the decisions she makes but you keep coming back for more because she is real. She has struggles. She has issues. She has to constantly juggle her priorities with other people's and she always comes up short. You love that because you see yourself in Olivia Pope.

She is human and the church really should take note of that.

The church, the Bride of Christ is full of humans, full of broken people yet we are the most uncompromising bunch in the whole world.

We walk around with the holier-than-thou attitude forgetting that our stuff was pretty messed up before God stepped in.

We act as if it is all peaches once saved and we show contempt for those who fall in their walks when we know full well that we still have stumbles of our own even now.

Where is our humanity? And more importantly, why are we trying to hide it?

Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners."

We, the church are full of sinners who have responded to God's grace and asked Him to renew our minds continuously. We are not perfect and we should stop pretending to be so if we are to follow Jesus' Great Commission.

How can we make disciples if they can't even relate to us?

I completely understand where the problem lies: being vulnerable and transparent isn't easy and it sure enough isn't pretty. We want to hide the ugly past and the detestable things that we have done while only highlighting the good that has happened.

But God isn't just the God of the great. He didn't choose you when you were perfect, when you got your act together. He chose you in your mess and loved you so much that He came to you, down into your pit of misery to bring you back up with a new song in your mouth (Psalm 40:2).

People need to hear that. They need to hear your whole testimony: where you started from, where you ended up and what still is troubling you.

Your crazy story does not subtract from God's glory. As a matter of fact, it just magnifies how awesome and merciful and full of grace He is when people hear about your life. It gives them hope and that is what you attest to when you are vulnerable and truthful.

If the church was more honest about its shortcomings and hangups, if we just admitted that we are human too, there would be a lot more people trying out this walk with God.

Don't lose your humanity. Don't hide your scars.

Let yourself be real so that others can get intrigued and learn about the goodness of our Lord.

Mini Bites 8.0

When Daniel hears the decree, the decree that said no to worshiping the one true God, Daniel goes to God and prays! Just like he did before. 
When crap hits the fan, when things are falling apart it is not the time to let hell run  loose. This is the time where you need to continue praying, continue seeking God's face, continue doing what you were doing because God is not only the God of the mountaintop, God is also the God of the valley. Just because the enemy is having a field day in your life doesn't mean that God has forsaken you. God is close to the brokenhearted. God is with you. Don't let go of Him. Press into Him even harder. 


I pity the fool who likes to read arcane, esoteric, academic papers.

There is no quicker way to make me feel stupid then to force me to read a handout that I have to wrestle with in order to understand. 

My name is not Israel for a reason, I am not about that struggle life.

Reading for me is a comfort. Reading is leisure, something I could hypothetically do with my eyes closed.
There should be no work involved, no muscle needed.

Reading is what IKEA's ready-to-assemble furniture should be: easy and sweat-less.

Why should I have a dictionary, thesaurus and Google nearby in order to understand a paper? And a hard-hat in case I choose to hit my head against a hard surface repeatedly?

I am no active reader. Highlighters and pens are foreign to me while reading because usually, and ideally, the author should be doing the work and making sure that what needs to be gathered is easily painted inside my head.

But at school, we have to put our thinking caps on. We have to dig in deeper and beyond the surface. We have to analyze and break things down in order to comprehend.

It's like an excavation and the shiny pebbles I'm able to extricate from the deadly clutches of the paper pale in comparison to the diamonds my peers find through their close reading.

I always come up short and when I look around, I see that I am so behind compared to those around me. While they're on the tenth page, I'm still trying to find my way out of the second page, leaving me to feel so incompetent, so out place that I sometimes talk myself into not trying in the first place.

I easily quit because I don't feel as if I belong.

And the same can be said of my spiritual life.

All around me are these giants of faith, fired up for God for years, if not decades, and here I am, a baby who contributes nothing but a dirty diaper after drinking milk all day.

Where am I needed? Where can I make a difference? Do I even matter? Do I belong here?

It is too easy to decrease your value and worth when you keep your eyes on those around you.

Of course it looks like they got it all together, that's what they want you to see! They are not letting you behind the scenes when it is much more glamorous and flattering for themselves to blind you with the highlight reels. But don't allow them to fool you; they go through the same messes, same insecurities, same troubles that you do. They just wear a lot of cover-up.

So we must refocus our eyes onto the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus!

He is the only standard that we should hold ourselves up to because He gives us the grace each and every day to continue growing into who He has made us to be.

And how do we learn who we are in order to become it?

By reading the Word; however, we have to come to a point where we stop reading the Bible as if it applies to someone else and start living it as it was meant to be: for you and for me.

The Bible is personal; it applies to all of us and once we realize that truth, it will become much easier to walk out our faith like giants.

All throughout the Scriptures, a sense of belonging (rightly placed in a specified position) can be found.
Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm. Ephesians 6:13-14
The only way you can stand is by knowing that you have every right to be in the space that you are occupying. God gives you the authority to stand where you are right now. This is a defense stance. You are not advancing onto another's territory. You're not attacking someone's stronghold. The devil is bringing the fight to you. He's trying to steal your dominion but if you pray, if you keep the faith and if you shoot down his lies, you will win. This is your territory, your terrain. You have the advantage because you belong!
I will give you every place that you set your foot, as I promised... Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:3, 9
Think about it: why would God in the same breath say I will do this for you but do not be afraid? Why would you fear if you knew that God always delivers? Because God knows and you soon realize that your circumstances try to pervert His truth, try to make it seem like it will be impossible to see His promises fulfilled. The world will try to steal your joy, try to convince you that you do not belong but that is a lie. God is directing your steps. He is making a way for you, no matter what it looks like. You belong!
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27
This whole chapter is a validation of you. Your gifts, your talents, your thoughts, everything that makes up you is valuable and precious and needed in this world. That is why God created you: He has a purpose for you that only you can complete. You belong!

Therefore don't allow any situation to persuade you otherwise. You are made for a purpose by purpose and if you just stay in the Word and apply it to your life, you will realize what He has already seen in you: You are His and you belong always and forever!!!

Mini Bites 7.0

Ruth 2
Ruth is gleaning in the fields when Boaz comes back from work and notices her. He asks one of his workman and he hears a good report about her. Boaz calls for her and blesses Ruth for the loyalty she has shown to Naomi and her good work ethic. 
You don't have to flaunt or prance around, you don't have to actively seek to be the center of attention. People are always watching you even when you are minding your own business, "gleaning from the fields." They are taking note of you even when you're not paying attention. If they see a good thing in you, they will go out of their way to be good to you, like Boaz was with Ruth. And besides God always sees and at the right time, He will exalt you and brag about you to others. Be faithful when no one is watching, when you feel as if no one is noticing you cause only then will God entrust you with more. 

He Makes It All Good!

That's my face most of the time when I read the bible. You should go through it sometime; there is foolery up in there... Scandalous foolish happenings.

The Israelites in the desert for 40 years when the trip to their paradise was like 10 days long.
The Israelites giving into their flesh, ignoring God.
The Israelites asking God for a king, so that they can be like everyone else who had a earthly ruler.
The Israelites constantly crying out to God to help them from the messes they willing walked into.

They really had me shaking my head. The Israelites made their lives difficult by not following and fully trusting the one true God.

So according to my logic based on these observations, if I abandon myself to His will, if I have full faith in Him then my life would be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, right?

No... not even a little bit.

Does in a sealed den with hungry lions ring a bell?

In Daniel 6, we find that Daniel gets a promotion because the king sees that Daniel's gifts far exceed his current place as an administrator, so the king creates a new position for Daniel.

But once that happened, his co-workers decide to bring him down several knotches.

Despite their best efforts, his co-workers find nothing. Daniel was an outstanding guy. He didn't wrong anyone, he didn't cheat on his job; there was nothing to use against him, except one thing:
"We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God." (verse 5)
They don't find anything to tarnish Daniel with so they know that God would be a stumbling block for him.

How many types of messed up is that?! 

So his co-workers go to the king. They convince him to create a decree in which it would be illegal to worship any god for the next month. He goes along with it, not realizing their true intentions.

When Daniel hears the new law, he goes up into his room and prays to God, "just as he had done before." Daniel didn't change his tune. He remained true to God.

And that's where his enemies find him: praying and asking God for help. Therefore, they go back to the king and snitch on Daniel.
Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.
Although the king favors Daniel, he cannot undo the law, so when the time came, the king had to follow through with what he said.

Daniel is then captured and thrown into the lion's den. Before the king seals up the mouth of the den, he says to Daniel, "May your God, who you serve continually, rescue you."
You said what now?!
So let's do a quick recap: Daniel is so amazing that he gets a higher pay grade but the people around him plot his downfall by using his God against him. He then goes against the law of his superior and asks God for help. He is caught breaking the decree and promptly served to the lions as a meal.

You're damned if you do, damned if you don't, huh? And Daniel, the good, the innocent guy was especially damned!!!

Well, not exactly... The story isn't over yet.

The king after a sleepless night goes to the den and says, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?"

When I first read this chapter, I wanted to knock this king upside his head. Like how are you going to send me into an impossible situation and say "Yea... This sucks for you but I hope your God comes through." I would have felt like the king was mocking me and my God but no...

Not at all. The king is praying for Daniel's well-being. The king is placing hope in Daniel's God to deliver him because he, as the ruler of the kingdom, couldn't. The king wants Daniel to survive but he couldn't help, his hands were tied, so he relies on a God he wouldn't have acknowledged if he hadn't seen Daniel's faithfulness throughout all the years they have known each other.

And what an amazing God our God is!

Because God showed up after the ink dried up and everything else was set in stone. Daniel and the king's faith were not in vain because God saved Daniel that day.

Therefore I want to encourage you to not give up during any trial in your life, to keep pressing on towards Him and realize that He will never forsake you. No matter what man says or what your circumstances tell you, His word is final and will be fulfilled in your life.

I don't care how your life may be looking; maybe you're in your own lion's den too but trust in God that He will deliver you come morning.

People are watching you: they are either holding their breaths to see you succeed or fail.
Some may even go out of their way to bless you or curse you but regardless of their intentions, God makes it all work for your good and His glory.

God could have rescued Daniel before he was sealed into the lion's den but then Persia wouldn't have come to know the one and only true God, The Great I Am.

The trouble that you are in and the way you react to it may be someone's breakthrough to God. So don't throw your hands up and mumble defeat. Do what Daniel did. Pray, continue seeking His face, don't turn away because even when it's dark, His light will shine the brightest.

You just have to look up.

Mini Bites 6.0

Your talents make a way for you. 
Daniel was so good that the king had to create a new position for him just so his talents could be of better use. Daniel didn't scheme his way to the top. Daniel didn't have a 5 year plan. Daniel was faithful where he was and those above saw and realized his potential to do more and gave him the opportunity to do so. 
If you want more, then do the most where you are right now. Do more than what they ask for. Be faithful with what you have at this moment and a way will be made for you. If not by humans, then definitely by God. He will always find ways to elevate you. 

Mini Bites 5.0

God isn't looking for grandiose, extraordinary actions. No, He isn't looking for a marvelous show. Although what you do may look small to you, it pleases God immensely because it shows faith. With that tiny step, you're telling God "Here is what I can do and I'm trusting you to do what I cannot do." It shows that you aren't going to worry, that you won't micromanage Him, that you will rest while He takes care of the rest. That's all He ever wanted: faith as small as a mustard seed. Remember that can move mountains!
Hebrews 11:6 Matthew 17:20 James 2:14-26

Mini Bites 4.0

Contentment is a heart condition: who or what are you gonna place your hope in? Transitory things that are here one moment and gone the next? Or God, who was and is and is to come? (Matthew 6: 19-21) He is constant. He will never leave you nor forsake you. If you hand over all of who you are to God, no calamity, no trouble, no heartache can steal your joy, your hope that is in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35-39). He is unshakable  He is unmovable. God is the surest bet you can ever make in these uncertain times. Place your hope in Him (Psalm 42:11).

Mini Bites 3.0

Doing the right thing, following God is hard especially when you look around and see worldly people thriving while fruit is barely manifesting in your own life. But don't give in, don't give up the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Of course living in the world looks appetizing. The devil wants you to stumble into sin, so he's gonna make it look tempting. But you have to remember that the world is not your example- do not conform!- Jesus is your only example: He is the only way! (Roman 12:2). Keep your eyes on Him and your feet will not stumble (Proverbs 3:23-24). He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:6) and in due season, your life will be a harvest full of His promises. Waiting on God will never be in vain. He always delivers right on time. 

Siri And Me

I stalled at the light.

Again, Siri said to turn right for I-405 North.

I looked up and to the right was the sign clearly marked for I-405 South.

She repeated herself. I yelled back that it said South. "What are you doing? Where are you trying to take me?"

Because this wasn't the first time she gave me dubious directions. I had half a mind to cross the street and take the exit for the real I-405 North but I didn't. She kept saying my exit was to the right. She kept saying it was this right. Not the right coming up or the left where I thought the correct one was. She said this right, right next to me, right now: take it.

"God, don't You forsaken me at 10:30 at night!" I screamed as I, against my better judgement, followed Siri's directions.

It was dark and I was tired and I was in a city that I haven't explored in the daylight so for once I decided to listen to what Siri had to say.

But I did it begrudgingly. Every few inches my car went, I threatened Siri that if she wasn't taking me home, I would personally bury her and come up with a better version of GPS.

I'm smart enough, I could definitely do a better job.

This isn't the first time that I have had a heated conversation with Siri. These past few months I contemplated throwing her out the window because she is so frustrating!

Our hate-hate relationship started when I moved across country to L.A.

I knew what I was getting into, driving from Florida to California, but dang every time I looked at Siri, her blue dot moved like an inch after an hour of driving! That didn't make sense. All these mountains and trees and grass passing me by and Siri still telling me I have thousands of miles left...

e.g 2,000 miles left to destination-hour passes-1,997 miles left to destination.

What you talking about Siri?!

Despite the many headaches, the many detours and the many missed exits I have had to endure with Siri being my guide, God has taught me a lot through this contraption.

I am a control freak. I read the directions beforehand (I try to memorize them but my brain doesn't work that way anymore) and then I hold my phone in my hand always double-checking what Siri spits out. Which is dangerous because my eyes aren't even on the road, the road that is on a mountain most of the time.

Yea, I drive on mountains with no hands sometimes: I am fearless.

And yes, I do have Siri speak out loud but her voice doesn't make me feel comfortable especially when she thinks it's all good to tell me this next exit, the exit that I am about to pass by is the exit I need to take and I'm 3 lanes away...

Siri, where they do that at?

But this doesn't even compare with the trouble I have with God.

On many occasions, I try to take the map from His hands, thinking that I can do a better job than Him.

  • I take detours and end up lost.
  • I always second guess His directions especially when the signs in the physical world don't match up with what's being said.
  • I get restless and bored when the journey becomes too long, causing me to doubt if I am actually going the right way, if I am actually seen by Him.
  • Then I always feel frazzled and rushed with those last minute warnings to go a certain route.

This walk with God is exhausting and it doesn't have to be that way.

I need to trust Him. I need to have faith.
  • I need to trust that even when I make mistakes, when the world turns against me that He will make everything work for my good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
  • I need to trust that He is sovereign, that His word will be regardless of what's happening in my life. It will happen the way He said it will (2 Corinthians 5:7).
  • I need to trust that I am always on His mind, that He hasn't forgotten about me (Psalm 56:8). I also need to trust that even on the long trips, when nothing is happening, I am on the right path (Proverbs 16:9).
  • And I need to trust that when He does call me that He will grace me with the ability to do His will (1 Corinthians 15:10, Philippians 4:132 Corinthians 12:9).
If I could just do that, trust a bit more, my life would be so much easier!

Because to be honest, when I intervene, I'm not helping at all: I'm hindering His plans. I slow things down and more time is added to the wait as He cleans up my mess.

And all that could be avoided if I had faith because I'm not good at the patience thing either.

But I thank God that He is still faithful when I get my control-freak on. He will never give up on me even when I am faithless. He is still there for me through all my hangups.

And God is still there through yours too, no matter what. Don't ever forget that.

Mini Bites 2.0

Your action activates your blessings. You have to do something in order to receive. What you have been praying for will not fall into your lap if you stay in bed. Faith is not passive; it is dead without works, without action (James 2:17). God is faithful but are you acting as if He is? Are you walking into His promises? Or are you letting fear hold you back? It's ok to be scared but do it anyway. God will make a way in the desert (Isaiah 43:19). Don't let your circumstances fool you; God is able. He is more than able: He is sufficient. Now walk like it. 

Mini Bites

Don't look at what other people are doing and be starstruck with their highlight reels. You have something in you that needs to come out too. And I don't care how small you think you are or how insignificant your talent is, do your best and God will make it magnificent. 

A Generous Heart

I love me some David.

He started from the bottom and he became a man after God's own heart. (If that isn't a great underdog story, then I don't know what is).

He was a worshiper. He praised, he hollered, he sang and he danced before the Lord so much so that his own wife, Michal, chastised him for making a fool of himself in front of the servants.

But he didn't let that phase him.
"It was before the Lord who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when He appointed me ruler over the Lord's people- I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor." 2 Samuel 6:21-22

David was a warrior before he even hit puberty. His father sent him to the battlefield to give lunch to his brothers. And what he encountered was a stalemate between the Israelites and the Philistines. Well, to be honest, what really happened was the Israelites cowering in one corner while the giant Philistine, Goliath, hurled insults, baiting anyone to step up to him.

David took the bait.
"This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give all of you into our hands." 1 Samuel 17:45-47

Did I mention that David had a smart mouth?

But not only that, David was a king, a musician and a poet.

He was a Renaissance Man before Leonardo.

And he was a generous man.

In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men come back from war and find their village plundered and their families kidnapped. After consulting with God, David and 400 of his men go in hot pursuit for those Amalekites who attacked their village. Two hundred of his men stay behind because they are too exhausted to move so they watch over the supplies.

David and company then go on to overtake and kill the raiding party, retrieving their families and life stock with extra plunder from the enemy. On the way back to their village, David overhears the men saying that those who were left behind should only get their families but none of the newly acquired plunder because they didn't risk their lives like they did.

And David says, from the depths of his generous heart, “The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.”

David’s sentiments are totally different than what society has taught us: we get our own, depending on what we contributed. You would rarely hear someone of this century say, “Hey, I know I almost died but you deserve half of what I risked my life on” to someone else who sat down to “look over supplies.”

It sounds crazy but don’t forget the fact that because that person stayed behind, “looking over the supplies,” they enabled you to go ahead and be great, to be a warrior. That person who stayed behind allowed you to go forward and conquer with no reservations, with no worries.

Sacrifice looks different on everyone. Just because someone’s sacrifice doesn't look like yours, doesn't negate the fact that the person still had to give up something.

The 200 men had to place their trust in the other men to save their families. That’s a huge sacrifice but they knew they wouldn't have been much help if they went with them, exhausted and depleted from strength. So they stayed and did what they could.

So do what you can. You have something that no one else can give. Don’t compare yourself; don’t look to the right or to the left. No matter what you do, no matter what your position is, you are important and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Your race may look different to someone else’s but everyone is going for the same goal (Philippians 3:13-14). But we aren't in competition with one another. God is able to give all of us what He promised. He will never lack in blessings.

Therefore, be generous especially to those who cannot repay you back.
"If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:46-48

God is our standard. We weren't called to conform to the world.

The world may be operating on the “me, myself and I” mentality but we were called to transcend it as we shine with God’s love and His light.

He called us to be His hands and feet to this world. And that means sharing what you have.

Your money, your time, your love, your smile, your umbrella.

We weren't meant to live in isolation and that’s what we do when we focus on personal successes. But if we looked up, if we looked beyond ourselves and stepped out of our comfort zones to give a helping hand to those around us, we will reap so much more success in the eternal realm.

And it really wouldn't cost us a thing.

God repays a cheerful giver by a thousand-fold.

Go and be a blessing to someone. That person needs you.

What Has He Done For You Lately?!

“No power can stand against You
No curse assault Your throne
No one can steal Your glory
For it is Yours alone
I stand to sing Your praises
I stand to testify
For I was dead in my sin”
Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise)-Hillsong United

There’s something inside of you that you have to let out. You might feel scared, you might feel unqualified, or you might feel as if there isn’t much to it but you have to share your testimony. You have to share the good news. You have to tell people about what Jesus has done for you lately.
Before Jesus ascended to the heavens to take His place at our Father’s right hand, He commanded His disciples (which includes us, centuries later) to “go out into the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).

But we don’t. We’re numb to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and tight-lipped towards those who need to hear about our encounters with Him. We don’t want to share because that makes us easy targets for the doubters to criticize and berate our proclamations. And when attacked, we feel as if we need to retaliate with counterarguments. But we don’t have to.

We weren’t called to defend our God.

To preach means to publicly proclaim, to announce. It doesn’t mean to argue or to defend. Jesus asked us to simply share the good news so that everyone can know that they are no longer condemned by their sins, that they have been washed clean by His blood, which allows them to come freely to the Father’s throne and be accepted with arms wide open, no reservations.

The good news itself sounds too good to be true. I can hear the unbelievers shouting out with distrust. I don’t blame people for their skepticism. Christians, the followers of Christ, the people who say that God is love, don’t have the best track record in portraying that truth. We can be hypocritical. We can be arrogant. We can be unforgiving. We can be the opposite of everything we claim our God to be. But what they don’t understand and I pray that you caught the revelation that even on our best days, when God’s grace and His glory shine brightly through us, we are but shadows of the one true King.

“Hypocrisy does not undermine the credibility of the Christian faith.” Corey Widmer

Our God is so much better than us. So much better.

And that’s why God doesn’t need prosecutors, defenders or judges. God isn’t on trial. He called us to be witnesses, to be lights for this very dark world. Besides, God has enough evidence to back Himself up (His Word). He can definitely defend Himself.

In 1 Samuel 5, the Philistines, after capturing the ark of God from the Israelites, placed it in their god’s, Dagon, temple. The next day, the Philistines find the statue of Dagon faced down on the floor in front of the ark of the Lord. They placed the statue upright again but the next morning they find their god, Dagon, in the same position with its head and hands cut off. Then God proceeded to afflict them with so much trouble that the Philistines were desperate to return the ark back to the Israelites with a guilt offering.

So as you can see, God doesn’t need your best defense, your best argument. Nothing can stand against our God. Anything counterfeit, anything not of Him falls at His feet, broken and useless.

What He wants is your obedience. He wants you to share your story of the good things He’s done for you. And don’t worry: no one can negate your experiences. No one can dispute your past. Even if you meet opposition, you need to remember that someone out there, who’s going through a similar situation God just delivered you from, needs to hear that there’s a way out of the darkness, that dawn will break with a new promise after a night full of tears (Psalm 126:5).

Even if your voice shakes, speak. Don’t hide His goodness. Don’t keep the good news to yourself. Speak out and share because your words, your experiences can be a seed in someone else’s life and in God’s timing will bloom into a new testimony and new praise.

Speak and share that seed.

Let Me Introduce Myself Yet Again

Fear plays a big part in my life. I wasn't nicknamed Shook for nothing.

Although (I like to believe) I can give a steely look that can stop a man cold, I get scared more times than I can instill fear into someone. I'm a scaredy-cat that gets spooked by its own shadow if I encounter it on a bad day.

And my fear isn't exclusive to simple things, such as snakes and spiders and tigers and lions and bears (oh my!). No, I may not like the creepy crawlers and things that can eat me but those are eclipsed by my greatest fears (the ones that keep me up at night stressing out and worrying) like failure, lack, and not being good enough.

And that's not half of the story. Fear keeps me landlocked, it keeps me stagnant and stalling. I cannot move if I'm afraid. It makes me sit down, hold back and be filled with regret because I have something to give, there's something I need to say but I don't because I'm scared that I'm wrong, that I misread the situation, that I am not what's needed.

Or at least that's what I've realized lately. This past summer I had the chance to intern at The Vous, the young adult ministry at Trinity Church. It's an experience that I will forever be grateful for but it definitely came with internal struggles.

I had to grow and I hate growing!!! Because with growth, there's failing, one of my dreaded fears! And the thing is, failure was unavoidable: usually with a new thing, it takes a few tries (and a few blows to my ego) until I succeed at it. Being an intern at a church was a new thing for me. And it was infuriating.

There were days that I thought I didn't measure up, leaving me frustrated. Then most days, I became a complacent wallflower and I still ended up pissed. I couldn't win. 

I tried and I failed. I didn't try and I still failed. It sucked!

I was at a stalemate and I had to choose. I am still choosing. It's a daily choice and sometimes I choose wrong but I thank God that He offers me grace for a new start, a new day, a new beginning whenever I need it.

And today, I choose to turn my back against fear and try what's placed in front of me despite the risk of falling flat on my face. I'm really tired of missing out and I don't want to do it anymore.

So by making fear my enemy, I had to read up on it (you have to know what you're up against).
Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat which causes people to quickly pull far away from it and usually hide. It triggers a fight-or-flight response, an instinct that prepares the body to either run away or defend itself against the threat. The purpose of the response is to promote survival. And the thing that really sucks is anticipation can provoke the same instinct. You don't even need to face the threat; if you even think it's at the horizon or if it's a possibility in the near future, you'll be filled with the desire to get away fast!
Fear is counterintuitive to everything God wants to do in your life. Fear robs you of the peace that God wants to give you. He doesn't want you to run away. He doesn't want you to survive. He has plans for you to thrive. He wants you to stand firm in His promises, knowing that He will make a way out of no way, that He will never forsake you, never leave you alone.

You don't have to give in to your fears. Let Him take care of that while you face something worth your time.

This whole thing reminds me of the Israelites when they are about to attack Jericho, a fortified city. They were nomads for a whole generation and before that, they were slaves for centuries. The Israelites probably mulled over the enormous task that God gave them and thought that it was a crazy suicide mission. They couldn't possibly win. They don't have much experience at war. They don't have the tools to climb Jericho's walls. They were simply not equipped to conquer Jericho.

But God shared with them something He wants you to find comfort in too:
Get ready... I will give you every place where you set your foot... No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous. Joshua 1: 2-6
You have nothing to fear and even if you do, He is there to take care of you.

Don't let fear win. Go up to it, press against the thing that scares you and know that with God behind you, it cannot stand. You can overcome.

The mountain may look insurmountable but God knows what He's doing. He knows what He's asking of you and if there is anything that you do not have, He knows and will provide it to you once you step out into the purpose He has set out for you.

Trust me, God has a crazy tendency to call people what they clearly aren't in the physical.

Abraham, a man past his prime age with no son, a father of many nations.
Moses, a murderer who had a stutter, a leader who would bring out the nation of Israel from under Egyptian rule.
David, a little boy shepherd forgotten by his own father, the greatest earthly king Israel has ever had.
Peter, a loudmouth who denied Jesus three times, the rock on which Christ built His church.

And the list goes on. It includes me:
Regine Darius, a shy and apprehensive girl, whose name means "queen, rich and kingly."
I know my God knew what He was doing when my parents called me Regine Darius. I may not see it right now in the physical but I choose not to let my present circumstances skew my perception of the future. I know He's gonna do a new and good thing in my life if I just trust Him.

I may be fearful but, today, right now I refuse to let that dictate what type of life I live.

It might take awhile but I will abandonly live out His will, wildly live out my faith, showing His glory through everything I do.

His list includes you too.

I don't know your name. I don't know where you are in life. I don't know what you are facing but I know His truth and His thoughts about you.

And those lies that are invading your space, cast them out of your mind right now. Because if the Israelites allowed their perceptions dictate their actions, they wouldn't have been able to take down Jericho with just their shouts and praise.

Yes, it sounds crazy but if it wasn't ridiculous, outrageous, scandalous, impossible then why would God be in it? If you could do it yourself, then why would you need God?

Dream bigger.

The things I'm pursuing, the dreams He has placed onto my heart have God written all over it. He's the One who's going to bring it about. I cannot do a thing if I relied on myself. But if I trust Him, all I have to do is step out in reckless abandon and surrender it all, die to my instincts, die to my need to run and hide (fear will still be there to stare me in the face but I don't need to react to it anymore) and understand that the One I give it up to is faithful and unshakable. My God will never fail.

You have to have faith in Him. He's not asking you to do anything He wouldn't do. He went first and did everything just so you can follow Him.

I know He's been talking to you, sharing His plans, calling out things that aren't even in being yet. But you shake it all off as wishful thinking.

It takes a while to soak in such a tall order God is calling you to but mediate on His thoughts about you. Think about His promises to you.

And make a change. No more excuses. No more doubts. Let it all go and embrace the reality He has for you. Walk with Him. It will be hard but you'll never regret it.

Truth Revealed 3.0: The Good News

Inspiration is everywhere for me.

My family and friends inspire me. My God inspires me through His word and His world. Books inspire me. And music definitely does.

Time blurs (I really can't believe it's August) but I think it was a few weeks ago that I heard this song and actually listened to what it said. And I fell in love. Hard (this song has been on repeat ever since).

This is a story about the Son of God who hung on a cross for me. But it ends with the Bride and the Groom in a wedding, with shouts of joy ringing throughout the celebration for all eternity.

And I cannot help but sing out, "Holy, Holy!"

This song echoes the Gospel so perfectly.

As you all know, it didn't take Adam and Eve too long to screw up paradise for all mankind. Taking a bite out of the forbidden fruit severed the intimate relationship we had with God. Then sin, shame, condemnation and death furthered the divide between us and God. We were alone in our mess, doomed and destined for hell.

But God intervened.

Jesus came down to us and died for us. He knew what we have done, He knew what we would do and He willingly went to the cross and offered Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice so that we all may be redeemed from death's grip once and for all. 

But please, you have to understand this: Jesus died for you. And He would have still gone to the cross if you were the only one in the world to save. My God loves you that much. Don't believe any lie that causes you to think that He died for the good people or that it didn't cover you or whatever junk. He did all this with you, your past, your hang-ups in mind. Trust that.

You may think that you're worthless but God thinks you're worth everything!

And the good news doesn't even stop there. Not only did He die for our sins, Jesus rose from the dead!! Death could not hold Him back. Jesus bankrupted the devil by breaking out of the grave to sit at the Father's right hand for all eternity, watching over you, ready at the first sign of distress to send help your way.

Isn't He mighty to save?!

The devil, jealous and conniving, planted a seed of doubt in Eve's mind causing the fall of man. Satan thought that was it, that he won, that God would turn His back on us like He did to him but no. God pursued us with such an unfailing love that He gave up His one and only Son to have a relationship with us. We are His forever, you are His beloved for all eternity. He's never gonna let you go.

Unfortunately, the devil is a persistent m'fer. The devil is going to do his best to make you think you’re still chained up by your past, failures, lack and insecurities. He’s going to sweet talk you into carrying burdens God already bore on the cross. 

Don’t let him trick you into thinking that you are still a slave. Instead pick up your bible and cut down those lies, cut down those strongholds. Call on the name of Jesus and send the enemy running. 

But don’t stop there! Stay in His word. Stay prepared. Stay prayered up for the next battle, the next storm. The enemy knows how precious you are to God. He’s gonna still try to knock you down. 

But when you strengthen yourself in The Lord, when you hide yourself in The Lord and His word, nothing can touch you. Nothing can keep you down!

Because when Jesus came, he didn't come to level out the playing field. He didn't come to give you a head-start on the devil. He came with victory. Jesus came to give you an advantage that can never be overcome, that can never be taken from you.

This is why you can look up to God and praise Him! No matter what is going on in your life, the score is known.

You have already won. Walk tall, warrior! Walk worthy.