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.