“Thrive.”

The enemy is nigh, my brothers and sisters.

He lurks in the darkness, using swaying language and taunting actions to dim our lights.

He wants us all to falter. To take our heavy eyes off the cross. Off the truth.

We cannot let this happen. We have to keep fighting. We all know the truth. We know we are all deeply loved. Deeply wanted. Deeply desired by our Abba.

Yet, we keep dimming our lights. We keep letting the darkness overshadow.

We press into the world, forgetting all we know.

We list after false hope. We crave desires of man. We use up all its resources until we are like a hollow, dark cave; caked with dirt and grime.

Alas. Abba is there. Outstretching his arms to us; inviting us back in. Let us keep going my brothers and sisters. Let us never stop thriving for greatness.

Dark Valleys.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”” John‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ve been venturing through a dark valley my friends. Kind of why I have not been writing on here. Sometimes I forget the things I do have to face while being a Christ follower. I feel sequestered; bounded by sin forever. I have gotten in the deep pit of depression, just clawing my way out. The “roots” I try to grab onto are only dead and frail, instantly snapping as I fall back deep down into the pit. I just lie there, pondering my existence while dirt and grime cover me. I am sorry for this dark visual, but it is important to understand my meaning of this.

Have you been at this place? Have you been facing a valley or multiple ones and just lost at which is the way out? I just read this sentence this evening and it perfectly describes the journeys we are forced to endure: “But be encouraged that valleys are temporary; they do have an end. And valleys have a purpose. God never wastes our pain.”

When Jesus took his last breath on the cross at Calvary and released his spirit to heaven, He warned us that as a believer and cross carrier, we will always endure trials and hardship. Being as of Christ, we will suffer as of Christ. I’m telling you now daily I have to forgive, love, and be kind to people who give absolutely nothing back. But I won’t ever stop. Because that is true meaning of the calling of Christ. You see my friends, the world doesn’t understand Christ. It doesn’t understand the complexity of which Jesus displayed: Forgive your persecutors. Love your enemies. Die to the world every waking day. So many factors are involved as a Christian. We don’t have to face any of this alone! Once we accept Christ, he is forever with us. His spirit is entwined with your soul. How wonderful!So, for you and I. As we face these forced valleys that cross our paths, remember we have the choice to fall, or to walk through it.

Stars.

The sky lights up the world,
Twinkling with lights that dance for me.
I lay here, on this forest green meadow; surrounded by the chirping of crickets and light bugs.
I just keep my eyes set on the arrangement of the night.

All I can think of is you.
The way your smile makes my insides ignite like an orange flame. Your gentle touch upon my skin is always comforting.

I look up at the sky and see an array of constellations. Each star burning millions of miles away, but yet the imagery is all to amazing. Just how your soft, emerald eyes looked into mine, beaming with color and life.

The stars I gaze upon remind me that each one is made differently. But when brought together, the creation that is made is what matters most. The night painting I am always so fascinated to see reminds me that even when their is darkness, there is always light. I just have to seek it. That is why I will always seek you in the darkness, My Star.

“As We Forgive Our Debtors.”

“For is you forgive men for their transgressions, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive them, then your Heavenly Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

Last month, I was really stumped with emotions. The full time job I signed onto caused me a great deal of stress, to the point my health was being affected. For the past few years I have been dealing with a great deal of pain on the top of my right rib. I was working my first job right after high school at a coffee shop when I realized it was time to start the closing procedures. I finished resetting the cash register and ran to the back to grab my items when I completely disregarded the bold black letters on the yellow sign, “CAUTION: FLOOR IS WET.” As I glided past the sign, my foot slipped right in front of me and fell right side first onto the concrete floor. Up until this day, I have been to a few doctor’s appointments, one trip to the hospital, and an X-Ray exam. All to find out I have a hairline fraction on the 11th bone. It is not really a big deal, but it made me think and reflect about my body and how to take care of it.

Just like how Jesus wants us to take care of our hearts when He sees damage or pain starting to inflame. Jesus really made me take a step back and examine the word forgiveness. I have done several posts on forgiveness, but I really want to share with all the importance of it, how it affects our lives, and how to react when we are struggling to forgive each other and ourselves.

One statement that I wrote is the utmost important when it comes to forgiveness: our greatest risk when we choose not to forgive = losing heaven.

If we hold fast to an unforgiving spirit, we will be handed over to our tormentors. We will lose heaven and gain hell. “Forgive each other just as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

Here are 4 reasons to forgive and how it will affect your life and relationship with Christ:

  1. Resist Thoughts of Revenge: Never take revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God. When we try to get even out of spite, we dishonor God and create a longer distance to the path of forgiveness. The enemy loves when we take our pain into our own hands because that is how he will use them to only destroy. Leave your ill will where it should go, at the root of the cross. Let God handle the other person they only way possible. Begin to pray for that individual and start the process of reconciliation. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” Says the Lord. Romans 12:19.
  2. Don’t seek mischief: This ties along for the number one reason. We think getting back by spreading rumors, spatting out a few mean texts to get our point across, or jumping into a new friendship/relationship is the answer in hurting that other person. By doing this, we dragging some innocent outsider into our vengeful chaos. Seek the kingdom of God, not the next hateful text that you’re dying to send. “See that no one repays evil with another evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:15. 
  3. Grieve at their calamities: This may be the toughest one yet. God literally want us to pity on those who have betrayed us. When we hear our “enemy” has fallen short or “reaped what they sowed” the first initial action we take is: “YES!” That is not how Jesus wants us to react. There is a famous verse where Jesus says, “if your enemy slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other.” Basically, when someone we know who has hurt us tremendously, instead of getting glee when the storm crosses their way, we need to love and pray for them. “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.” Proverbs 24:17
  4. Pray for them: I have found this from personal experience the most effective way to a path of forgiveness. Last summer my heart took a huge blow when it came to forgiving someone I sadly truly hated. I asked God, “seriously? There is no way I am doing this.” But God pressed more and more onto my heart, so I began first with prayer, then I began to email this person for 10 weeks straight different lessons in the bible. The person was very intrigued and stated he was experiencing the love God had for them. It was a very humbling experience. “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44.

Choosing to forgive shows that God is evident in our lives and that we trust Him.

So the question to ask yourself is: “When do we forgive others?”

The answer is when we strive against all thoughts of revenge. When we will not cause any mischief against our enemies, but instead grieve for them when adversities strike and to wish them well when they are having high peaks in their life. When we begin to pray for them, seek reconciliation, and show ourselves ready on all occasions to relive them. That is what forgiveness looks like.

 

Tree

I am a tree
Standing still on top of hills. As they produce fresh soil for my viens and pump life into my being. My branches sprout high into the bright blue skies. I produce many things
Food for the nature, a shelter for the blistering weathers. I create an awe for passing travelers as my leaves burst into an pulchritude of colour.
I am a tree
I do not move. Only when the winds whisper sweet melodies into my limbs, making me dance to their interesting, cavort manner. Or when i am on the verge of death and the rain purifies me with its kiss of refreshment.
I am a tree
Taken advantage of. Being killed off, chopped to pieces by sharp axes of evil, and flattened by gruesome machinery.
I am no longer a tree, I am what you call a stump. No longer do i produce branches for life or sprout new leaves to attract visitors with my radiant colours. I am merely a helpless stump, longing for the life that has been taken from me.

22 years.

“Like a lily among thistles is my darling among young women.” Song of Songs‬ ‭2:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So last year I started this amazing blessing from God called this blog and it has really helps me delve deeply into His word while learning to express my thoughts. since I love to write. Last year, my verse for my age 21 was from Proverbs 21:21: “Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.” Proverbs‬ ‭21:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬
It really amazes that God help me do just what this verse says. I lost so much last year. A relationship and entire family. It has been such a difficult process of dealing with it. But, the more I laid my problems at the root of the cross, the more Jesus uprooted in me. I really have been learning about forgiveness, loving others, and staying humble. Jesus has been the most gracious gift. I would be completely devastated if he did not reside in my soul right now.
This year, Jesus directed my eyes to this verse for my new age as 22: “Like a lily among thistles is my darling among young women.” Song of Songs‬ ‭2:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

This verse is so beautiful and exempts the woman I am striving to be! I have had such a dark past…one where I thought I need to act proactively and lower myself so a man who help me feel accepted. Jesus, however, wanted different for me. Jesus sees me as the woman I am. He has made me pure, righteous, and accepted. I am a lily in His heavenly garden. No other man can uproot me from his holy ground. I am excited to see what my new age brings me. I am ready to be a woman among the thistles.

“Do Not Have a Feeling Based Faith.”

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews‬ ‭11:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Feelings are one of the most powerful, shifting aspects of our minds. Feelings can make us want to dance in the puddles after a afternoon shower. Or they can make us curl up under the covers, while watching the heavy rain drops clash against our windows. Feelings are overall dangerous. Especially when it comes to walking with Jesus. If we base our faith with only feelings, we never experience the Truth and will always submit to our flesh. Here's a chart I found that adequately describes feelings/faith.

Look at the left side for a brief moment. Do any of those things match to what is going on in your personal life right now? I have had to examine my heart on a few of them. When we have a feeling based faith, we are not living up to God's standards. We pray, do acts of goodness, and follow God. But in most cases it's for our gain. For example, I went through a season of "forgiveness" last year. I did all the things I was expected to do. I seeked God, I read His word. I still felt impatient. I examined my heart just now on that Melodie last year and I realized that I was doing those things in order to gain what I wanted. That's not what our season with God are supposed to be like! Every season is like a steeping stone towards our true identity, and being closer to Christ.

When Jesus walked the earth, he was selfless. He performed miracles, taught his disciples, and what I love most, drew to lonely places to be with Christ. Jesus led by example of a spiritual based faith. Jesus knew all along that He would be betrayed by the same hands who praised Him. Yet, he still chose to love them and now love us. When we decide to forgive someone, we can't just take it back because we don't like how they're treating us! When we attend fellowship, we can't single someone else out because they don't have that "church attire" look. Let's love on them and embrace them into the kingdom! After all, we are all going out the world the same way as dry bones.

My prayer for you and me today is to stop living a feeling based faith. We cannot just praise God when things are great. We need to seek God even though there are blockages in our path. We need to love other people, despite how they treat us. Because one who loves knows God, because God is love (1 John 4:7-8). Start today by creating a list of things that's keeping you from having a spiritual based faith and begin to ask Jesus to remove the flesh feelings out of your spirit and replace them with His love, kindness, patience, hope.