Come As You Are

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

Luke 4:33-35

This is what I love about God.

He isn't intimidated by your issues, your fears, your insecurities, your handicaps.

He isn't worried by your worries or scared of your messes.

He doesn't doubt when you doubt.

He isn't afraid of getting close to you.

He wants to be close to you.

But people forget this about God and try to convince themselves that they have to clean up, get right before they approach Him. And that is a lie.

You can come to Him as you are.

And then as you draw close to Him, the scars, the stains start to fade away.

Even the bruises and cuts you didn't realize you had go away in His presence.

Stop putting off your time with God for the right time, for the right circumstances, for the right you.

Meet Him in the now.

Meet Him as you are.

Come as you are and He will receive you just as you are.

He loves you. Come and be with Him.

Mini Bites 36.0

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:35-41

You have to remember that when Jesus says, "We are going to the other side," it is not open for discussion, it's not up for interpretation. When He says "We are going to the other side," He meant that you will see the other side.

Storms may try to drown you, fires may surround and try to suffocate you, you may be thirsty in the desert, but God's report is still the same. It hasn't changed with your circumstances. It didn't bounce back void because people said no to you.

You can hold on, you can trust in God's word. It will come to past. Don't stop believing. God won't put you to shame. He won't embarrass you for waiting in faith for Him. God will do what He said He will do no matter what is happening around you.

Stay expectant. You will see the other side.

Bible Study: Stay, Wait, Watch

This past summer, I confronted something that took my breath away and ushered in the tears.

I am a runner. I hate exercising but boy, can I run.

I run when faced with difficult situations. I run when I'm uncomfortable. I run away from my feelings and emotions.

And it hurts to realize that I would rather run than find out what I'm made of because I am scared to see that I don't measure up to some standard or expectation.

So I'm learning how to stay put, how to plant roots even though I'm terrified because seasons change, disappointment will come, some expectations won't be fulfilled.

However, joy does come, the investment does pay off, I can enjoy the place I am rooted in but I have to wait.

I have to be patient although everything around and within me is telling me to leave, to get out, to run.

In 2 Kings 2, Elisha is sticking close to Elijah's heels.

Elijah can't shake off his apprentice. Three times, Elijah has given the younger man a chance to rest but Elisha is adamant about following his master.

Elisha isn't about to take a rest now, not when God was planning on taking his mentor away for good. So he stays with Elijah and refuses to leave.

Then Elijah turns to him and asks, "What can I do for you before I'm taken from you?"

And Elisha answers, "I want to do what you do."

Elijah replies, "Watch me and when I leave, you'll be able to do what I do."

And I think what Elijah just said is very important.

As a society, we are so caught up in doing and gaining experience that we forget how important it is to watch how the thing we want to do is actually being done by those who are doing it.

We don't want to watch because that means we have to learn, which means we have to be patient.

I shudder every time patience is brought up...

For me, waiting is a waste of time. I feel like I should be doing something productive, that I should help God out and hurry up the process.

But the thing is... God doesn't need my help and He doesn't need yours either. And He isn't trying to hurry up the process...

He simply wants us to wait and watch as He does a work within us to prepare us for His will.

It may seem like nothing is happening around you but you can trust that things are changing for your good and His glory within you.

There is no wasted time in His economy. He's fashioning you into the person He created you to be. Why wouldn't you want to take your time and learn from Him to be the best-you you can be?
He made you, why wouldn't you wait and watch Him in order to learn how to live your life?

Although, Elijah's ministry seemed to be slowing down and nothing was happening right up to the point that God plucked him from the earth, Elisha stayed expectant, knowing that the best is about to come. That's why Elisha could boldly ask for such a thing as a double portion in his life. He knew that he wasn't done learning and gleaning from Elijah yet.

And we should have more expectancy of God, who can do immeasurably more than what we ask or imagine.

He even said it Himself:
Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I've been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

But are you spending time with God? Are you rooted in His word?
You can't expect more when you aren't fixed on what God promises to do and is doing in your life.

If your perspective isn't on God then it's easy to get restless as you focus on what isn't happening in your life.
If your perspective isn't on God then it's easy to get scared and worried as you focus on what is happening in other people's lives.

It's easy to run, to abandon ship, to give up if you don't look to God.

We have to stop leaving prematurely.
We have to stop quitting.
We need to stay and wait and watch.

Cause only then will we get to do something more than Christ through His strength and grace.
Only then will we see the payoff and the fruit.

Even as the seasons blend into each other, as nothing seems to be happening, as the worry and doubt start to creep in and you want to run...

Stay, wait and watch instead.

Or you'll miss out on the big reveal of what God was doing for you backstage.

A Bible Study: Elijah the Stranger Danger

Can I be transparent for a moment?

I feel overwhelmed. After a summer of freedom and laziness, starting school again, being on a schedule again, becoming responsible again is the biggest struggle right now.

And with my car giving me trouble, feeling disconnected in a place I know that I'm called to and missing family and friends, I cry out to God on a daily basis.

And yesterday was no different.

I just finished listening to an A-MA-ZING! word from John Gray of Lakewood Church (Sept.24). I was pumped. I was encouraged. I was excited. Then I got on the phone with my sister and I was sobbing.

Things got uncomfortably awkward real quick and I had to get off the phone. And it wasn't anything that my sister said or did, it was me! I was crashing from that high! I couldn't sustain myself on that elevation. I needed more than a good word. I needed action!

With snot and tears everywhere, I shouted to Him that I had nobody! Everyone I knew couldn't help me the way I needed! I kept looking to people for something that only He could give me, so here I was, on my bed, screaming, "I NEED YOU NOW! You're the only one I got!"

Then in the midst of my misery, Elijah pops into my head. And after a few more minutes in my wallow of self-pity (cause that's just how I do), I pick up the bible and read his story.

Before 1 Kings 17:1, Ahab, at the time, has disobeyed God and followed after his predecessors' footsteps, raising up the idol Baal and causing the Israelites to sin.
And then this happened: Elijah the Tishbite, from among the settlers of Gilead, confronted Ahab: “As surely as God lives, the God of Israel before whom I stand in obedient service, the next years are going to see a total drought—not a drop of dew or rain unless I say otherwise.”
Elijah comes out of nowhere. At first, I thought I missed his introduction so I flipped back but I couldn't find him. He just appears in chapter 17 and he shared God's message with the king of Israel, Ahab.

I was so confused. Usually, when we meet people, we get their whole background. We learn about their mamas and their daddies and their issues but not for Elijah, so I dug a bit deeper into what was said about him.

Elijah the Tishbite, from among the settlers of Gilead

Gilead is mountainous region divided between Gad and half of Manasseh, the two of three tribes that did not cross the Jordan River into the promise land.

Tishbite means stranger.

Therefore, Elijah, the stranger from the land outside the promise land, got an audience with the king and told him what's about to go down: a drought for the next few years...

A stranger, an outsider, an outcast, a nobody was placed in front of a king.

A stranger, an outsider, an outcast, a nobody was being used by the King!

Isn't God AH-MA-ZING?!

Even now, in this time and age, you cannot get an audience with someone of importance without the right connections and the right resume filled with the right list of prestigious titles and accolades. You have to prove your worth before you can get into the presence of someone of worth.

But I am so glad that we serve a God who is above and higher than the world's way.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

If you're anything like me, you may think that you have nothing to offer, you may think that you don't meet man's requirement for approval and recognition, you may not see a way to achieve your dreams, but if you do what Elijah did, if you align yourself with God and follow Him, you'll find yourself being used by God Almighty in mighty ways, you'll find yourself before kings and queens, before people who will fund those dreams.

God is so amazing and He is so faithful. He sees you and He knows you.

Where you are may make you feel like a stranger, an outsider, an outcast, a nobody but in His eyes you are His Beloved and soon enough He will usher you into the promise land to do His will.

Don't you know that what's inside you is a danger to the plans the devil has? The enemy wants you to feel isolated and unimportant so that you can't activate the gifts God placed inside of you. If he gets you to feel small and insignificant then that will cripple your walk with Christ and you won't be effective in God's will.

So you can't believe those lies. You have to keep that fire of faith alive. 

You have to believe that God loves you, that He has not forgotten about you and that He will use you at the right time.

Don't quit. The world needs you!

Got Grace?

Ever since last week, I've been scared of driving.

I blew out my tire. If there was such a thing for tires, my tire was in its birthday suit by the time I was able to pull over; stripped bare naked. And thankfully, gracefully, mercifully I didn't hurt myself or anyone else in the process.

But the guy who changed my tire warned me that if I were to drive above 55 mph, if I were to drive at the speed limit on the highway, then the spare will pop off, I would lose control of the car, and possibly flip the car.

If I wasn't scared before, then I was terrified by the time I got behind the wheel.

I drove miles below the limit that day and the next.

The morning after, I cried while driving on the highway (cause California doesn't believe in local roads), staring at the speedometer, thinking that I'm gonna die if I tempt fate again. I will die if I don't pay attention to my car. I will die if I'm not careful.

Have you ever felt that way, that if you don't get it right this time that you'll lose your chance forever?

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save and His ear is not too dull to hear. 
Isaiah 59:1 
You are His and He will never leave nor forsake you. He will be quick to save you. And if you listen, God will show you how to get out of that situation no matter how many times He's told you before.

As long as you have breath, God will offer you another chance.

What I forgot, as I drove in trepidation, is that I didn't use up my last free pass with God. If I did find myself in that situation again, my God is able to save me. My God is able to deliver me. My God will do it again.

Yea, I have responsibilities. I need to keep up with my maintenance, be aware of the warning signs, but if the unthinkable happens, if something out of my control occurs, I don't need to be afraid.

God has me. Although it caught me off guard, He saw it before He laid the foundations of the world down and He gave me grace to get through that accident, that trial, that fire, that storm.

God is limitless. What He offers you is boundless. When man writes you off, God doesn't. He made a promise with you and He's sticking with you til the end.

He is faithful. And whatever you're facing today, God has grace for that.

And He has grace for tomorrow too.

And the next day and forever more.

A Bible Study: Show Up!

In Esther 1, King Xerxes is throwing a huge party for one hundred and eighty days!

180 days...  I can't even hang for an hour and neither can my pocket book; however, the king could because he had the wealth to show off and that's what he was doing.
And after the 6 months of extravagance, (really, where is the $ coming from) the king decides to have a week long banquet.

The liquor was flowing, good feelings were boundless and the king was full of joy, so he said to his servants, "Hey, let's get my wife out here to enjoy all these festivities."

The servants hurry off to get the queen and quickly return without her.

She said, No, I ain't going to do it.

And the king was pissed!!!!

Yea, I know women have rights. A woman can say no and not cause a world war. Sometimes we just want to hang with our friends at home and do nothing (which she was doing at the time of the summon).

Wearing heels, a tight dress and a crown isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Heels hurt. Beauty hurts. Tight dresses always make me feel bloated... But that's neither here nor there.

I understand why the queen might have declined the king's offer but let's look at the king's perspective for a minute.

He spent half the year, throwing parties after parties in his kingdom. Each event more extravagant than the last. And to close the night out, he decides to show off his beautiful queen.

The king probably thought that his queen, his wife was his crowning glory. He delighted in his wife and he wanted the kingdom, who was gathered at this big bash, to experience his happiness too.

And she said, No, I ain't going to do it.

Wouldn't you be pissed too?! To think that you saved the best for last and the best couldn't be bothered by you...

Did I mention the king was mad?

Well, if I didn't, he was steaming and he consulted his advisers and they said, "Dude, you have to nip this in the bud cause if word gets out, then all the women will follow the queen's lead and there'll be chaos by the end of the night."

And the king listened to them and dethroned his queen and sent out an issue reading, all men are head of the household.

Then the next day, when he's probably nursing his hangover and his regret over the rash decision, his advisers go ahead with a national search for the next queen of Susa.

Yea, it's harsh and yea, the queen probably had good reasons to decline his offer but every action has a consequence, good or bad. And the king was mad!

So how much more would it grieve God that you keep saying no to Him?

Before He laid down the foundations of life, the King of kings, the Lord of the lords, the Creator of the universe thought of your purpose and created you.

Throughout history and throughout your life, God prepared the world for you, His crowning glory. He set up the opportunities, lined up the people to bless you, stored up riches just for you and you can't show up?!

He paid with His Son's life to give you a new life, a life of abundance and you can't show up?!

For what?
Why aren't you saying yes to His calling?

Because... I can't even think of any excuses. There is nothing that can separate you from God. Nothing should be able to.

Not your past, present, future
Not your fears, insecurities, lack
Not your dreams, hopes, reality
Not your family, friends, enemies
Not your decorum, tradition, culture
Not even the devil could create a lasting wedge between you and God.

Why are you saying no?

I can't even think of a reason why I allow my fears to hold myself back from God. Although I am not qualified, although I have no clue as to what He's called me to do, it doesn't matter because He who calls us is faithful to do it.

He's going to do it. God is going to do it. God, (you know Him, right?) God is going to do it. One more time so that it can sink in, God will do it. And He invites us to be a part of His story.
So come in, show up and join the party, God is saving a seat for you.

And you obeying God, you showing up is not only for you; it's also for the people who are tied to your presence at the party. It's for those who look up to you, it's for those who are at the receiving end of your obedience.

It's not only about you.

And the cost of showing up pales in comparison of not showing up. Your disobedience costs you His presence in your life. You'll be cutoff from God; you'll feel as though He's nowhere to be found when you were the one who stayed in your room and didn't show up.

Open the door and step out into the unknown, step into the purpose God has for you.

You'll probably stumble, you'll probably stutter, you'll probably spill some drink on your dress or shirt but that's okay, okay?

Because God is beaming with pride that you graced the party with your presence. This is what He's always imagined: you fumbling around becoming the person He created you to be under His careful gaze.

God doesn't mind the mess. He's happy that you showed up. Everything else, He'll take care of.

Trust Him.

Mini Bites 35.0

I have faith. I believe that God can do anything but when it comes to me, I'm not so sure. I can see that God does wonderful things through other people but when it comes to me, I feel as if I'm a clogged pipe. Something within me stops His power from flowing through me. I'm an intricate mess of insecurities and insufficiency but His grace can work through my issues. When God says that nothing can separate Him from us, He included you and me in that exhaustive list. There is nothing in you, there is nothing that you have done or ever will do that will stop God from accomplishing His plan through you. Get that in your spirit. You are not a hindrance to God. You are His crowning glory. You are not His weakness. You are His masterpiece. There will be a few bumps along the way, many mountains and a lot of valleys but through it all He is with you, working in you. Don't forget that. You are not a lost cause. God is not done with you yet.

Mini Bites 34.0

Jesus died for you so that you can be forgiven. He rose from the grave so you can approach God's throne with the confidence that you will be heard and you will be answered. And then, He puts a treasure, a gift, a talent inside of you, a body of clay. So what are you going to do? What is the appropriate response to such a lavish display of His grace? What do you do? You nurture that skill, that ability and use it. That's all you can do. Don't allow your gifts and talents lie dormant under insecurities and comparisons. It doesn't matter how many people can do what you do because no one can do it like you. No one else is you. And if you bury your talent because you're scared, you're not only keeping the world from your gift but you're robbing the world of you. The world needs you and what you have. Don't hide and don't be scared.

Mini Bites 33.0

Our God is an active God. He could have finished with the cross and the resurrection. That would have been more than enough if He would have dipped on us then. But He didn't stop there. He's with you each second of every day, making your paths straight and negating all weapons formed against you. God doesn't leave you to figure it out all on your own. With each sunrise, He is doing something new for you, through you and in you. The cross isn't a shrine of things done; it is a living promise for more to come.

Mini Bites 32.0

When God told Moses to lead His people out of captivity, Moses was quick to decline His offer, asking God why him? And God, in one sentence, both acknowledged and dismissed Moses' insecurities: I will be with you. Isn't that amazing?! He doesn't care what you are facing, what you don't have or who you think you aren't because He will be doing most of the work. All He needs is your willing heart. Are you going to keep being insecure and forget that the One who created the universe is by your side? Or are you going to step out and trust that the One who made you is going to catch you when you fall? Where is your trust: in Him or in your doubts?

Mini Bites 31.0

I'm a little impatient. I just want to get my life going to the good parts. I have dreams I want to live out now but God has other plans. He wants to uproot and mess up errryrhang to make sure that I have a good, solid foundation in Him before He sets me loose with my purpose. But what He does call me to do now is to love those around me. At first I'm like, that's it? But seriously, without love, anything I do will be useless, it wouldn't mean anything if I don't love the people who God brings into my life. If I can't love, then I am nothing. I am not like the God who created me. And that would be the worst thing ever...
1 Corinthians 13:8-10, 13 "Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled... But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love."

Mini Bites 30.0

When you feel shortchanged, cheated and bankrupted, when you feel like you have to accept scraps and crap and good enough, when you feel like you deserve what the world is offering at the cost of your dreams, hopes and happiness, remember that God already has the best for you, remember that God can do better, remember that God is never limited by your circumstances, resources or by people's opinions of you. Remember that it won't cost a thing to wait on God. He's already paid the price on the cross. He's worth the wait.

Mini Bites 29.0

Do you get what that means? The Lord is your portion. He is yours. His being, His essence is available to you. Do you get it?! He is your peace when you are restless. He is your strength when you are weak. He is your Redeemer when you feel useless. He is your Savior when you are lost. He is your Provider when you have nothing. He is your Healer when you are sick. He is your meaning when you feel insignificant. He's yours because you are His. God is fulfilling. If you really delight in Him, if you truly trust in Him, He can satisfy you. Anything besides Him is just fluff and cherries. It's extra. But God is the prize, the goal. He's the one at the end of the finish line. He's the one you've always wanted. "Philippians 3:12- I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me."

Mini Bites 28.0

It's easy to conform, to become what society wants you to be. But the thing is, the world did not buy you, it did not redeem you. God did and He called you for more. He called you to be you. Don't worry about how the world will accept you or how you will fit into the world. When authenticity walks into the room, everything else bows down. God set you apart to stand out, not fit in. When you finally accept yourself and approve yourself and love yourself like God does, you'll see that open doors and opportunities will find you easily. You won't have to work so hard for what is yours. So stop trying to fit into some mold. There is a need for your voice, your talent; there's a need for you, so be you. Have faith that God knew what He was doing when He made you.

Mini Bites 27.0

The disciple John throughout his book refers to himself as "the one Jesus loved" and I usually give him the side eye and look for a pin to burst his bubble. I really thought he was being cocky. But that wasn't it at all. He was calling himself what God called him, Beloved. He was just agreeing with the Father and my question to you is if you do the same? Do you claim what God calls you or do you hide behind the facade of humility and secretly wonder if He even cares about you? I know I do. Jesus lived, died and rose from the grave to reconcile Himself to you. What more do you need in order to believe that you are everything to Him? Trust me, He would have done it if you were the only one to save. He would have died willingly, knowing all the messed up things you did and will do. He loves you that much!!! You are the one Jesus loves!!!

Mini Bites 26.0

You never know the impact you have on people. You may feel insignificant where God has placed you but that couldn't be further from the truth. In God's presence, nothing is wasted, nothing is less than. A few fish and loaves of bread fed thousands. A slingshot killed a giant. A mustard seed of faith moved mountains. Shouts of praise leveled a fortified city. Prayer opened wombs. Jars filled with water turned into wine all because it was given to God. Stop looking at yourself from a place of insufficiency and realize you are full of potential that God is waiting to tap into. What you have may be small and it may seem impossible to make a difference but remember that's where God makes the miracles happen: in the small, ordinary, insignificant stuff like being a janitor in God's palace. Or a baby born in a manger...

It's My Anniversary

Two years ago, I wrote this:
No one is you. No one can tell a story like you because they don't have your experiences, your perspectives, your anything. Your story matters.
And that's where the title came from too.
I matter and my story does too. It may not matter to a lot of people but that doesn't mean that I don't matter.
A year ago, (where does the time go, seriously) I shared this:
This is why I can't stay still. This is why I keep moving. This is probably why there's longing within your soul because you have an inkling that you can do so much more. And you can, through His strength that is readily available to you.
But you have to break that mindset that keeps you enslaved and replace it with truth. 
And tonight, I want to remind you of all this:

  • You are not random.
  • You are not by chance.
  • You are not convenient.
  • You are not just there.
  • You are purposeful.
  • You are chosen.
  • You are not an extra.
  • You are not chaos.
  • You are not taking up space.
  • You are not the constellation prize.
  • You are the prize.
You are a deliberate thought formed in our Creator's mind and He saw you were good. He knew everything about you from the beginning, how many times you would make mistakes, how many times you would turn away from Him, how you ultimately cost Him His only Son and not only did He think you were worth it, but He chose you for a purpose. He picked you and thought you were fitting to be His vessel for His purpose.

You are not a blip on the radar. You will be missed if you went missing. You are loved and looked after by the One who created everything around you.

Don't give up. 

You have so much riding on this one life. I know that sounds daunting but you're not alone. God is with you every step of the way, guiding you and providing for you. If you'll just press into Him, He'll make your paths straight.

But it starts with expanding your faith: you have to start believing in yourself; you have to believe in all He says you are, in all He says you can do.

Can you do that? Because once you do, then you can do anything. And trust me, the world needs who you are and what you can do.

We need you so please don't give up.

Mini Bites 25.0

I woke up with the thought, "I don't want to talk anymore."
And before anyone throws a party, I will continue talking (let's get that straight) but I don't want to talk about my dreams anymore.
I don't want to open my mouth and say the same words over and over again and realize that nothing's changed, I'm still saying the same thing that I shared last week, last month, or God forbid, last year!
And this morning, I thought, "I don't want to talk anymore."
I really don't and my subconscious had this revelation way before my lips spoke it because every time someone asks what's up with me, what's new with me, what's going on with me, my reflex is "nothing," because I don't want to see or hear the pity in their voices when they realize that I'm still the same as before, that I haven't changed. If I don't share my expectations, my goals then no one can keep a tally of my failings.
So I woke up with the thought, "I don't want to talk anymore."
But then I thought about it, mulled it over because, trust me, I wake up on the wrong side of the bed always, and I realized that's what the devil wants, that's what the world wants, that's what my flesh wants.
I am a daughter of the King of kings, the Lord of lords. I follow in His footsteps and I inherit His gifts. The power of life and death are on my lips and whatever I speak out according to His will has to come about.
Of course, the devil wants me to shut up.
Because if I shut up, then that allows others to speak into my life.
If I stop talking, then my life will start reflecting the words said to me.
If I don't surround myself with my voice, with my aspirations, with my hopes, then I'm susceptible to other people's plans.
It's so much easier to fit into a cookie cutter or a cardboard cutout when you're not filled with your own desires, your own fire, your own dreams. It's easy to be a statistic when you don't have your own vision. It's easy to be a copy when you don't recognize and invest in your own uniqueness.
Don't stop talking. Don't allow your atmosphere to be void of your words because if you don't speak, someone else will.
Continue speaking out no matter how much time has passed.
Through the challenges and circumstances, you keep praying for that breakthrough .
Do not give up. Do not shut up; your blessing, your change is coming.
Keep talking.

Mini Bites 24.0

I do not play sports of any kind. Although my laziness does contribute to my incompetence, my fear of getting hit by the balls (i.e. basketball, baseball, soccer ball, tennis ball, racquet ball and dodgeball) keeps me staying in the sidelines. And not in the floor seats either; I would be in the nosebleed section where I was certain that no wayward ball had any access to my pretty face.
But life is funny, isn't it? 
Because I usually find myself in the front row, with no protection, watching the game.
Correction: watching the ball.
My eyes follow the ball and my limbs are in the stage of flight in case the ball decides to plummet in my direction. 
I tend to forget that the ball doesn't have a mind of its own and it isn't plotting to smack me across the cheek at full speed.
No, not at all... unless...
No! The ball is an instrument in the hands of the ball player and most of the times, if not 99.9% of the time, the ball player is competent enough to make sure that the ball doesn't go out of bounds and bludgeon someone to death.
I should have confidence in the players to keep the ball within bounds but I don't.
I watch the ball and I can't enjoy the game.
And sadly, the same can be said of my life.
I harp on the bad and miss out on the good.
I miss out on God's goodness because I'm looking at the circumstances.
 Matthew 8:23-27 and Matthew 14:22-33 reveal the disciples losing their faith when they're caught in terrifying storms and Jesus shows us the correct responses when life throws us curve balls.
He rested in the boat and He walked on water.
He didn't freak out with His disciples.
He didn't abandon ship.
He wasn't frantically looking for plan B when plan A looked like a failure.
Jesus rested and Jesus walked, both actions opposite of what we would do when caught in a storm.
And you know why He was able to do that?
Because He knew that God was in the midst of the storms.
We have to remind ourselves that storms, horrible circumstances, bad breaks and bad habits will never separate you from God.
Storms can surround you, overwhelm you and try to drown you but God has His hand on you the entire time and will never let you go.
Trouble can come but Jesus is with you.
Temptation can be overpowering but Jesus is reaching out for you to set you free.
Don't look at the chaos in the background when peace and rest can be found in the foreground, in Jesus.
Shift your perspective; it's better that way.

Mini Bites 23.0

Abraham didn't focus on his own impotence and say "It's hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child." Nor did he survey Sarah's decades of infertility and give up. He didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what He said. That's why it is said, Abraham was declared fit before God by trusting God to set him right. " But it's not just Abraham; it's also us! The same thing gets said about us when we embrace and believe the One who brought Jesus to life when the conditions were equally hopeless. The sacrificed Jesus made us fit for God, set us right with God.
Romans 4:19-25 MSG

I look around and list the many things that are "wrong" with my life. 
The complaints can go on for days and I become an unbearable party pooper. 
I do not know how anyone deals with me.
I look around and see the good in everyone else's life but I never do the same for myself. 
Only the bad pops up.
And when I finally decide to look up, I don't see God; I'm too busy with my litany of discontentment and woe-is-me bull crap to see Him and realize that He has eyes.
Duh, He is omnipresent and omniscient.
God sees!!!! He is not blind to my sufferings or yours.
The stuff we're complaining about, He sees. 
He notices our burdens and the hopelessness of the situations. 
He doesn't need us to draw His attention to them.
He's more than willing to step in and change some things. 
But are you willing to wait on Him as day changes into night that transitions into a week, a month, a year?
Will you wait for God and trust that what He promised a "while" back will come to be?
That only He is the One who can do it?
That's why He spoke it!
That He will back up His word?
Instead of telling God about our situations, let's remind ourselves who God is.
God is the GREAT I AM, who is everything we ever wanted and needed.
He can do it and He will do it.

Don't Put Dirt in the Grave Just Yet

I'm writing a novel this upcoming year.
A month ago, I printed out my thesis proposal and I got giddy.
This thesis, warm from the printer, is the foundation
I could envision the final product from the blueprint and I knew, deep in the deepest part of me, that I could do this and it was going to be magnificent.

Then my mentor got a hold of it and I promise you, he beat my child in front of me as he gave me suggestions and advice.
And I could do nothing to prevent it.

It's not my mentor's fault. I SUCK at receiving criticism. And he didn't say anything bad about it. He likes the idea of it. He just burst my bubble and surrounded me with reality.

We've all had that moment: when you think you know something, the idea of it, you get the premise of it but once you're in the situation, you realize that you knew NOTHING, nothing at all.
When you realize this isn't what you signed up for
And you wished someone warned you. Well that's what my mentor did. He warned me and I, being me, started doubting.

Am I really capable of executing this?
Is the message going to get lost in the story?
Is this story even mine to tell?
Should I go with something easier?

So I, being me again, turned my back against my story. I gave up on it, without beginning it.

But it didn't leave me. It's haunting me. Its bones are calling out to me, demanding that I finish it, that I go head first into it, that I don't punk out, that I commit myself to something wholeheartedly for once in my life, even if I set myself on fire in the process, I need to do it.

I owe my words, my ideas, I owe myself that.

Then yesterday, Ezekiel 37:1-14 popped into my head and I wanted to share this with you because I cannot be the only one who has unrealized dreams or ghosts of unfinished works in my closet.

You have to stop.
Stop with the excuses. Stop with the procrastination. Stop it.
Stop telling God how impossible the situation is.
Don't you realize that you are a child of a God who specializes in impossibilities. What you cannot do, He is more than capable in doing. He is not you. God is not your image-bearer; stop coloring Him with your inabilities and insufficiency.
Instead, be quiet and listen to what God is saying to you. Don't you hear Him?
God speaks life over you. 
So if you have nothing nice to say, then only say what God says. Be in agreement with Him.
Speak His promises over your life.
Remember your words have power - the power of life and death. Speak life like your Father. Don't let defeat and discouragement fall from your lips.
It may look as if it's over but God has other plans.
That place where you thought was your grave-site, your end, is the place where God wants to bring your resurrection.
God is coming for you. 
He's gonna rejuvenate you, recharge you and bring about what you thought was long gone, long forgotten.
God is a dream-maker and a dream-fulfiller. What He starts in your heart, He will bring to fruition - He guarantees it.
But you have to be in agreement with God.
You have to continue speaking His promises over your life, even when life gets crazy, until it becomes exactly what He said.
Keep echoing His words and believing in them.
When you align yourself with God, who can stand against you, let alone win?

So conceive it, believe it, speak it and do it no matter what the circumstances look like.
Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

Easter Is Here!!!

Jesus is never late in coming.
Jesus can rewrite your ending. He can change your trajectory.
Jesus knows that His Father has it handled. He isn't worried.
No accusation can stick to Jesus. Only the truth.
Jesus got bullied too.
Jesus calls you out on your b.s. but doesn't hold it against you.
Jesus feels for you. Your cries do not fall on deaf ears. Your troubles do not go unnoticed.
Jesus will come for you and set you free, no matter how far you fall.
Jesus knows that His Father has it handled. He isn't worried.
No accusation can stick to Jesus. Only the truth.
Jesus got bullied too.
Jesus calls you out on your b.s. but doesn't hold it against you.
Jesus asks on your behalf.
Jesus advocates on your behalf.
Jesus is on your side.
Jesus will not leave you. He will come to you.
Jesus is the true vine.
Jesus chose you. He still chooses you.
Jesus appoints you to bear Him fruit.
Do not magnify the voices of the haters. They are in the minority.
You and God are in the majority. Don't focus on what they say.
Listen to what God says.
Jesus knew who He was and He knew who you were and still died on the cross for you.
Jesus is preparing room for you.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
Jesus leads us to God.
Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him. Jesus is in you.
Jesus will do it.
Jesus is the bible in the flesh.
Jesus is not in the tomb.
Jesus cannot be stopped by locks.
Jesus stood in the gap for us.
Jesus reconciled God to us.
Jesus can expel all your doubts.
Jesus will still give you your mission, even if you have reservations.
Jesus is not done yet. He is just getting started.
Jesus is with you always, to the very end of the age. He loves you!!!
Scripture: John 10:1-42
Matthew 21:1-27
Matthew 26:17-30; John 13:1-17
John 14:1-16:33
Matthew 26:36-75
John 18:19-19:16
John 19:17-42
John 20:1-21:25
Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:36-53

Do It Again

It's been two years since I've made a guy friend.
No, I'm not in a convent, I just get mute, deaf and dumb when I am surrounded by guys.
And it's so frustrating because I used to be a guy's girl...
I was one of the guys. I could make them laugh. I could dish it as well as they served it.
But now I keep them at arm's length, barely acknowledging them at all.
And I understand my current tactics. I'm in survival/defense/protection mode because before, I fell hard for some of my guy friends.
I mean really hard, like concrete hard, like I not only broke my nail hard, 
but I broke every bone in my body hard.
There have been too many times when my heart ran ahead of me and planned out our "future" when the guy never thought of me in a romantic way.
There have been too many times that I misinterpreted the twinkle in his eyes and the way he held me.
There have been too many times I cried over a guy because it turned out he was interested in someone else.
So right now, I keep them far, like to the ends of the earth far. And I am not exaggerating... It's gotten really bad.
Sometimes, when a guy catches me on a good day, we click and we laugh and share some jokes. But the next day, if not the next hour, I give him the coldest of shoulder that must have originated from the North Pole.
My smile and sweet demeanor fool some people. I can be mean.
But I don't mean to. Not really, it's just that I know myself, I will fall. And why wouldn't I? The guys who become my friends, at times, are the type of man I would one day hope to have as my husband.
So, shutting it down in the friend department is the only way to stay safe, to keep my heart at bay...

Doesn't that sound familiar?
How many times have you taken yourself out of the game because you "knew" the outcome?
How many times have you refused to roll the dice because you "knew" your chances?
How many opportunities passed you by because you "knew" they were too good for you?
What happened to you for you to play it safe?

Because that's not the way Jesus wants you to live. You weren't meant to live from a place of fear.
In the beginning of Luke 5, Jesus finds Peter in his boat, calling it quits after an unsuccessful day at sea.
But Jesus gets onto Peter's boat and asks him to try again.
Peter looks at Him and says, "I've been trying all day. There isn't anything out here."

Isn't it funny when Jesus asks us to do something that we've done thousands of times before as if there will be a different outcome?
I know for me when He asks, I look up at Him and say, "Haven't you been paying attention? I'm going nowhere with this. Why would I try again?"

Luckily Peter is not me and he does what Jesus asks of him. Although, he was at sea for the whole day and caught not one fish, he throws out his nets again.

Now, let's make a prediction: What's the probability of Peter catching a fish?
Slim to none if you consider what happened before.

But, that didn't happen. The logical choice didn't happen. The miraculous did.

Peter caught so much fish that his nets almost broke and he had to enlist the help of his friends in another boat to help him reel in the catch.
Peter, who had no two fish to rub together before, now filled up two boats that day to the brink of almost sinking.

What's the difference? 

Jesus, of course.

When Jesus is in the midst of it, previous experiences are invalid. He can do something new for you.
Forget about the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:18-19
I don't care if it's your first time or millionth time doing something, if Jesus is asking you to do it again, do it.

He won't steer you wrong. When He's calling you, it means that He has everything set up, so are you ready to take that first step? 

Don't allow your past to hold you back and miss out on what God has for you.
He had no intentions for you to live in fear. No, He died so that you can have life to the fullest.
But you have to be open to His promptings and when He calls, you have to be willing to step forward.

Even when it looks foolish and doesn't make sense, risk it.
God is so worth the risk.

Countdown to Easter 3.0

Jesus is recognizable. He doesn't need to be marketed or sold. 
Jesus closes out the show. You don't need to worry about saving souls. He handles that.
Jesus can calm the storms but He wants to give you peace during the storms.
Jesus is looking for your faith. Where is it?
Jesus is in the business of radical transformation for your good.
Jesus wants to be invited in. 
Jesus is brilliant.
Jesus won't be distracted from His purpose.
Jesus is a revelation from God.
Jesus fulfills both the law and the prophecies.
Jesus cannot be contained.
Jesus is so much more than us.

Jesus' miracles don't stop because the spotlight turns off. 
It continues in the aftermath of what He has done.
Example: The leftovers of fish and bread filled 12 baskets.
Jesus will come when you call for Him.
Jesus will remove road blocks at the right time.
No one can take away the truth of your testimony. 
They don't know where you came from and they definitely don't know where you're going. 
They didn't save you. 
Jesus did.

Share in the comments section what Jesus means to you.
Scripture: Mark 6:45-52; Luke 8:22-25
Mark 5:1-43
John 6:1-15
Matthew 16:13-17:13
Mark 9:14-32
Matthew 18:15-35
Matthew 13:24-52
Mark 10:17-31
Luke 10:1-24
Luke 10:25-11:13

Countdown to Easter 2.0

Jesus is atonement.
Jesus redeems.
Jesus is the way to eternal life.
Jesus is the saving grace.
Jesus is the truth.
Jesus is rest.
Jesus is the standard.
Jesus is greater.
Jesus is to be experienced personally.
Jesus out gives you always.
Jesus' gifts are everlasting.
Jesus qualifies.
Jesus sees and acknowledges the unseen.
Jesus magnifies.
Jesus multiples.
Jesus is hope.
Jesus has plans and purposes for you.
Jesus provides.
Jesus has everything covered. 
He's on His throne ready to send out situations and opportunities your way.
Are you going to trust Him to fulfill His promises?
Jesus is not a magic trick.
Jesus is not a gimmick.
Jesus is not a genie.
Jesus is all or nothing, never some type of side-piece.
Faith marks you as His.
Faith gets you at His table.
Faith gets His attention.
Jesus goes to the places we avoid.
Jesus may at times inconvenience you but it's worth it.
Jesus calls us to a higher standard.
Jesus calls us to love.
Jesus calls us the salt and the light of the world.
Jesus forgives your sins.
Jesus can do it all.
Jesus is a wanted man but He still has time for you.
Jesus considers you family.
Share in the comments section what Jesus means to you.
Scripture: John 3:1-4:42
Matthew 5:1-7:29
Matthew 8:1-9:8
Matthew 12:1-45
Matthew 13:1-52

Countdown to Easter 1.0

You can claim to know somebody completely but the truth is that you can never stop learning more. So a month ago, I decided to go deeper. I did a bible study called "30 days with Jesus," where I learned about the truth, the light, my Lord, Jesus Christ. 

And He revealed a lot to me. I thought I knew about Him but I either didn't or completely forgot.

As Easter approaches, I thought it would be nice to dedicate this week solely to Him. So for the next 6 days, I'll share tidbits about Him with you. But don't take my word for it. Dive in deeper, look up the verses I refer to. He's waiting for you.
Jesus is a promise fulfilled.
Jesus is with us.
Jesus is life.
Jesus brings increase
Jesus brings joy.
Jesus brings peace.
Jesus brings justice.
Jesus brings order.
Jesus is everlasting.
Jesus is Lord.
Jesus is Royalty, who was born in a manger and hung out with the sinners. He can relate to you.
Jesus is right on time.
Jesus is personal.
Jesus is approved, accepted and loved by God.
Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus lifts burdens.
Jesus breaks chains.
Jesus saves.
Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.

Jesus overcomes the trials, the temptations, the storms. Always.
Jesus leads.
Jesus protects.
Jesus defends.
Jesus is a name-changer.
Jesus sees you and knows you long before you ever encounter Him.
Jesus is just the beginning of greater things to come.
Jesus isn't what you asked for but He came anyway.

Share in the comments section about what Jesus means to you.

Scripture: Isaiah 7:14, 9:1-9
Matthew 1:18-2:23
Luke 2:1-20
Matthew 3:1-17
Matthew 1:1-17
Luke 4:14-44
Luke 5:1-11, 6:12-16
John 1:35-51

Mini Bites 22.0

I want to write, I want to teach, I want to speak and travel, I want to sing, I want to have a family. But from where I am standing now, it looks like none of those things will happen.
The other day I had an interview and for most of it, I could barely string my words together. 
Speaker, teacher, singer: out of the question
Writing a novel is the most daunting task I am getting myself into. Like what the hell am I going to talk about for like 100 pages?! And the print is so small, it's probably gonna be like 85,000 words?! Not to mention I can barely force myself to do the assignments at school, let alone upkeep this blog.
Writing: wishful, stupid thinking
I am currently working to cover my minimum essentials.
Traveling: fool's dream
No prospect in the love department. It's like the Sahara Desert over here. It is so dry and empty!!
Family: mirage
Right now, it looks as if none of my dreams will happen. My hopes seem to diminish with the realization of my inabilities.
But luckily, gracefully, mercifully the fulfillment of my desires do not rely on me. They rely on God.
It doesn't matter what I say or what people say (because people will say worse), God will accomplish His purpose through me. 
You do not need any validation or recognition from any man. You do not need your circumstances agreeing with what's burning in your heart. All you need to do is remember that God commissioned you. He validated you. He stamped you with His approval and He's going to back you up with His strength and ability.
It doesn't matter how bleak it looks, just know that He's able to bring your breakthrough all of a sudden, with no warning.
Don't quit. Don't give up.
He's able to do what is impossible.
Just trust Him.

Mini Bites 21.0

I think this is what I struggle with as a Christian: to believe that Christ is within me, working something new, while still dealing with the same problems. I still lust, procrastinate, play small, get angry, use hurtful words, get scared.
I am still me and I don't know if Christ has a hold of me.
I don't know if I have Christ.
But faith was never about what is seen.
Although my circumstances terrify me, they don't even faze God. He's beyond everything that hinders me, making my paths straight.
He knows what He's doing and I have to trust that even when I don't feel like I am His, I am His.
He is within me and He is changing me.
The Christian walk is not easy. I do not know who lied to you. (don't worry, I do not remember who lied to me either
Why would it be easy when the world, the enemy try so hard to dissuade you from trusting in God?
There will be storms and crap will hit the fan multiple times in your life. Being a Christian doesn't exempt you from the brokenness of the world. However, following Jesus, placing all bets on God is the best thing you can do.
Because when everything fails, when everything fades, God is still there, holding you.
He's got you; trust Him.

Mini Bites 20.0

There was no room in the inn for the mother of the Son of God. No one knew who she was and who she was carrying. They didn't know that she carried their Savior in her womb, so they placed her in the barn filled with animals.
People will look at you and think that they know you. They will try to place you in a box that isn't even fit to contain you. Luckily, their opinions about you cannot stain your identity in Christ. People may think that you have nothing to offer but, like Mary, you know full well what God placed inside you.
Therefore, be faithful in that barn.
Be faithful in that cubicle.
Be faithful backstage.
Be faithful in the darkness because your circumstances do not negate God's promises over, His purposes in and His plans for your life. People's opinions about you do not dictate your future.
What matters the most is what God says about you. And His word never comes back void.

Flashback Fridays