Seeing IN God’s LENS

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18, NIV).

” ‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’ ” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV). 

” ‘Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the Lord. ‘Do I close up the wound when I bring to delivery?’ says your God” (Isaiah 66:9, NIV)

 

Yesterday was the start of a new month, so I asked God to give me a divine revelation. HE DID! Ain’t God good?!!?

During my TAWG (time alone with God), I read Song of Songs chapters 5 and 6, and I realized how intimate the beloved and lover are. I told God, “Lord, I want my husband and I to be very intimate, but I want us to be intimate with you.” Then I read a couple of articles about what intimacy means to the Christian, and one of the points was that you can’t be intimate with someone if you don’t know yourself, and you can’t truly know yourself if you don’t know God and how He sees you. That brings me to my revelation: my

SINGLENESS is  Seeing IN God’s LENs

SONY DSC

I dismissed this at the time, but this morning I realized that the Holy Spirit used my corniness and my love of words to reveal to me what has been head knowledge for so long! Thank you, Holy Spirit.

Being single is not a curse, it is not a punishment from God, it doesn’t mean you’ll never be loved, it doesn’t mean that God has forgotten you. I wrestle with these thoughts (strongholds) regularly. No more! I’ve been so busy thinking about whether or not I will be married that I’ve been missing out on what God is doing in me in the here and now. I believe that God purges you, opens your eyes and ears and heart, molds you, and shapes you in this season for Himself, so that His purpose will be fulfilled in you! And if a spouse comes along, the more the merrier 🙂

Seeing (myself, my story, my journey, my future, etc) IN (from) God’s Lens (perspective). That is the most important thing in life. Apply this to all areas of your life, not just singleness.

I’m actually excited to start this new journey. I have said before that I’ve embraced my singleness, but now I embrace it because I know God is working in me, doing something that I can only learn this season, and I don’t want to miss out on it anymore! I want to know God, know who I am in Him, see things the way He sees them; I want to be in God’s heart and mind! And when the time is right for me and my husband  to walk in covenant together, we will be seeing each other, our marriage, our children, our home, our ministry, and others through God’s lens.

To all my single people, don’t fret your singleness, embrace it, even if you are the only single person in your group! Thrive, because God is working in you! Let this period be the period where you get to know yourself, God, and His ways!! Be intimate with God; know Him, know you (No Him, No you).

Do no forget that God has already given you the strength to live fully in this season. Start choosing to see things from your Father’s eyes. It’s refreshing!

Grace and peace to you.

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Short People Allowed

“A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus… He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him” (Luke 19:2-4, NIV). 

“The issue isn’t whether God reaches out to us– it’s whether we choose to respond to him. He will not violate our will– the choice is ours.” – Rebecca Manley Pippert

 

This post is not about short people. But I’m glad I have your attention 🙂

 

JesusZacchaeus

Being a short person myself, I understand how Zacchaeus must have felt, not being able to see the man he wanted to see; I understand his need do anything necessary to accomplish his goal. My man climbed a tree!! It be like that sometimes.

Again, this is not about Zac, or the plight of short people; this is about Jesus and his willingness to accept and dine with  a “sinner”.  We must understand that during this time, Jewish people hated Jewish tax collectors because it was as if they were supporting the enemy– the tax collectors were uncle Tom characters, if you will. Zacchaeus had it rough because he was the chief tax collector, meaning he was really really really hated by the Jewish people, he was marginalized even though he was wealthy; he was the enemy. Yet, our darling Jesus singled him out, no doubt with a smile on His face! Jesus accepted the marginalized, we know this; Zacchaeus was no different. Jesus went to this “sinner’s” house, dined with him, and pronounced salvation into his house! Imagine Jesus walking alongside Zacchaeus! Jesus didn’t allow the mutter and murmur of others to stop Him from accepting another person into His kingdom!

We should follow this example. Let us dare to allow the people who are not meant to be allowed into our circles be in our circles! Let us dare to accept people for who they are, love on them, and watch how natural their response to start living life in accordance to God’s will will be– notice how just the presence of Jesus prompted Zacchaeus to turn from his corrupt ways.

My friends, we are not called to be converters; we have been commissioned to be like Jesus, to go into the world, seek out the lost, preach the Gospel, and love people the way Jesus loves us! The rest will follow naturally. What Jesus did was unacceptable to those who couldn’t see the need for others to experience the love and grace of God as well! I pray we will never get to the point where we start choosing who should or shouldn’t come to Jesus; everyone, EVERY SINGLE PERSON is welcome, even short people like myself who need an extra boost just to see Him!

But remember, being welcomed by Jesus and into His kingdom does not mean remaining the same! He wants us to come as we are, but He doesn’t want us to stay as we were!

I Do Not Understand why God Wants Me

” ‘But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him’ ” (Luke 15:20 b).

I don’t think I will ever fully understand the love and grace of God towards me!

Jesus threw a lot of shade! I think Luke 15:11-32 is an example. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were singing the same old song of how Jesus “welcomes” (Luke 15:2) the undesirables of society, and this story was one of three Jesus used to answer their complaint.

The Prodigal Son. This must be a Sunday School favorite. Before tonight, I had concluded that the younger son was crazy and stupid, that the father was even more crazy and stupid, and that the older son was the only sane one, but he was also crazy and stupid for being unforgiving. After rereading this parable, the Holy Spirit allowed me to see that the father, though illogical, is God, my Father, waiting, eager for my return to Him.

Verse 20 really caught my attention: the father was always waiting for his son; he still remembered what his son looked like, enough to recognize him from a long distance away; he still cared enough about the undeserving son to break social norms by running towards him; he still loved him enough to have compassion, which out-poured into action when he hugged him and kissed him. This father was so eager to welcome back the son who pretty much told him he was dead when he asked for his inheritance (Luke 15:12) that he didn’t want him to think that he is a son by worth– and the truth is that we are not worthy of His GRACE! Pastor Judah Smith said in a sermon about this passage, and paraphrasing here, that we are children by birth, not by worth.

Isn’t it amazing that we have a Father who wants us? Do we understand that this father did not need his son? But, he wanted his son back! He was eager to embrace his son, kiss him, and reinstate him– this is why God sent Jesus into the world, so that we can be reinstated as His children! How awesome is that?!

To be honest, this section now has me confused and a bit emotional because I am that younger son, and I will never understand why my Father wants me– why is He reaching out for/to me?!?! I don’t know. But I know that He does want me.

So, if you think you’re the worst, and that God cannot possibly want you, think again. He is eagerly waiting for you to just turn your face towards Him, and He will come running towards you! He wants to celebrate you because He loves you.

Won’t you turn to Him today, friend? You won’t understand why He wants you, but just accept that He does. And, friend, it’ll be the best decision you will ever make!

 

New Beginnings

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19, NIV).

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:19, NLT).

“Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?” (Isaiah 43:19, KJV).

I love reading certain verses in different versions because each version offers a different meaning, but same message– if that makes sense. Anyway…

Today is a day of newness, not just for me, but for one of my dear friends.

Let me show you a glimpse of my life so far. You see, since I moved back to Amherst, MA (in hopes of being in Collegiate Ministry with The Navigators), I have been looking for a job! Mind you, I have been applying since, pretty much, November 2015. Even after having no job, I moved to my apartment. The entire journey is a story (testimony) for another day. Anyway, I kept applying, at first to places that I was qualified for; then I was advised to apply anywhere, so I started applying to places I was way over-qualified for. The process, I think, was a breaking of my pride and so-called identity. Long-story-short, I got hired as a cashier  last week at a local grocery store ; it’s a part-time position. It is certainly not an ideal situation, but I thank God  because I can pay rent, tithe, give gifts, etc. I even have the opportunity to work another part time job, which I hope will add to my experience and boost my resume (for grad school)!

All that information is to say that I started work today! Day 1 of training! After having been unemployed since May 2015, having something to call a job is pretty nice. Like I said, it’s not ideal, but I want to be worshipful and reveal God to everyone I come in contact with! I want to be a good steward of the time and resource God has given me. It is certainly a new beginning for this baby 🙂 I am actually excited for what God is going to do in (through) me!!

The other new thing God did today was that He granted my friend another year! Today is my friend’s birthday! Her testimony is AWESOME. This time last year, I know what she was going through, but God has been so gracious and kind to her! I am just SUPER-DUPER excited for this new year for her!!!! I know it’ll be great– why? Because she serves a GREAT GOD!

Anyway, that’s it for today. It’s a new day, a new age, a new stage; and it’s all because of God, and for His glory! My prayer is that we (my friend, you, and I) all take and live in this  (daily) newness, knowing that our Father in Heaven is in control, that when He does (starts) something new, the end result is indeed AWESOME!!

Can you tell I’m excited? 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

There is NO Other One!

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22, NIV).

I have been in the book of Isaiah for a while now, and it has been quite the journey, to say the least. At first, I was wondering why people have been telling me how great Isaiah is; honestly, I did not find it appealing because it was all pronouncements of woes and judgments on the nations. Then, I read chapter 35, which has been my favorite chapter so far; it’s now one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Anyway, this chapter, I think, was a turning point for me because after this chapter, my eyes were opened, somehow, and I started connecting with the following chapters, finding principles to follow; the chapters kept speaking to my life and current situation. Now, don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that the other chapters were not “good”, but I just really wasn’t connecting with them as much.

So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, allow me to tell you something that has got me thinking. The last couple of chapters, 44 and 45, have been hammering on the fact that GOD IS GOD; THERE IS NO OTHER GOD. What that means is that He is Creator and Maker, He is Sustainer and Keeper; He knows who He is and is secure in Himself; He is Power and powerful; He is Savior and Redeemer; He is Just and Justice; He is Omniscient; He is Director and Writer; He is Giver of things; He is Truth; He is the One who speaks and His words come to fulfillment, no matter how long they take! He is the One in whom all thing are made; He is the only ONE who can and does save! Chapter 45 is filled with A LOT of things that I want to discuss, but for the time being, let’s acknowledge that God is GOD, and there is none like Him. He knows that, but do we know that?

We know that He loves us, whether or not we reciprocate that love; and since the Old Testament, He has been reaching out to us, asking (pleading, begging, admonishing) us to turn to Him! That is all we need to do; the rest is in His hands! So, friends, let us turn to Him! Let us look to Him, and let Him handle the rest!

The best part of this is that He is ready to do the work. In fact, He has already done it, through Jesus Christ! Won’t you turn to Him, look at Him, and receive Him!?! Trust me, your life will change forever, for the better!

Look! Be saved! Live!

Bragging about HIM… in a few words

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, NIV).

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God’ ” (Mark 10:27, NIV).

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we all ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory…” (Ephesians 3:20).

“‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…’ ” (Acts 1:8).

God is awesome

 

I can’t stop bragging about God because… well, I possibly CANNOT stop. So, here’s my brag:

MY GOD IS AWESOME!!!!

That is all I have to say… I feel like trying to say more than that won’t even be able to capture what is going in on me right now, but MY SAVIOR IS AWESOME!

 

Day 5: My Provider

“And my God will meet all [my] needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV).

Praise the Lord!

I thank God for another day! Today was very busy, but very fulfilling! I was able to get some groceries today! For someone who has no source of income, being able to buy what you need is glorious! I bought things I needed (and a little bit of things I wanted). All glory belongs to God, though. Anyway, today was filled with snow and running errands. But even in the midst of all of that, God opened my eyes to see beauty! There’s always beauty.

Snow_Umass

But, what I really want to talk about tonight is God’s provision for me. I used to think that God being a provider meant that He gives money, nothing else; but He provides in so many ways (i.e. comfort, favor, etc), and I was able to experience at least one more way today.

Not so long ago a friend of mine, out of the goodness of her heart, gave me a $50 gift card. She said, “You need it more than I do.” A part of me was overwhelmed by such love and sacrifice (the gift card was a gift to her as well), the other part of me was sad because I was (am) in such a state of dire financial need. Anyway, I accepted the gift thinking that I’d save it and pass it on to someone else who would need it. That was the plan until I realized I needed some groceries. I was asking God how I would get them. I thought that I was going to use the last $10 I had, which was supposed to be a savings. Then I remembered the gift card. I took it with me to the store thinking just in case. Long story short, the things I got exceeded $10. So, I used the gift card. I thank God for my friend. What’s more is that I had some visitors today, a lovely couple! They came to spend some time with me, and I, again, used the card to get something for them to eat. The card was a blessing to others as well! I just kept thinking about how God knew that I would need help.

What’s more is that my my campus supervisor asked me to send him a report of my week. He asked me about my physical, emotional, and spiritual state of being. I was so glad he asked because lately I have been feeling as though no one asks me how I am doing (physically, emotionally– especially emotionally). It may not necessarily be true, but I have been feeling that way. I was happy because God used my supervisor to answer a prayer that I didn’t even pray for– it was more of a desire. So, He provided an outlet for me!

I am honestly grateful to God for His provision! He keeps supplying all my needs! All of them! 

Day 4: My Teacher

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13, NIV).

CONTENTMENT!!!! 

I thought I had already learned this… but no; just learned it overnight. We must be content in every aspect of our lives. An author says this, “The Bible has a great deal to say about contentment—being satisfied with what we have, who we are, and where we’re going” (http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-contentment.html).  I have learned to be satisfied with who I am (a woman with physical and emotional scars; I am short; I have one eye that’s “lazy”; I love to sing, cook, clean, write, etc). I am satisfied with where I am going (my future and destination are secured in God’s hands). What I have been having problems with is what I have! I don’t think I have a lot, according to me (but I have A LOT more than other people in other parts of the world).

WHY AM I NOT SATISFIED/CONTENT WITH WHAT I HAVE?

Perhaps it’s because I had an expectation that is not being met; perhaps it’s because I feel like God has forgotten about me, or that He has given me the short end of the stick… I don’t know…

But, I thank God that (and I think it’s for real this time) I have learned contentment. I had a dream overnight, and all I did was help people send emails. The joy that was in my heart was out of this world! I woke up (and, actually, went to sleep) with the song “Background”, by Lecrae, in my head; I felt as if God was telling me, “Dayo, what if I want you to stay in the background?” The answer was yes. Perhaps I have been feeling as though God doesn’t want to use me anymore, so I have been feeling overlooked (in every aspect of my life); I have been feeling like an afterthought, not because of man, but because I didn’t feel useful to God anymore! So, I have been craving prominence, wanting to be in the foreground, hoping that God would notice me and decide to use me again… how messed up is that?!?! I was subconsciously trying to manipulate my Maker… 😥

That was yesterday! I praise God because I have learned to be satisfied with where He has me! There is a reason for it. I can truly say, with confidence, what Paul was saying, that he can do ALL THINGS– even being content– because God granted him strength and grace! I wonder what the journey was like for him. God is an awesome teacher! He taught me this lesson in the most gentle and humbling way.

I am now looking at things differently!

Day 3: My… All

Today has been a very interesting day.

I woke up from another terrible dream, prayed, and did my morning routine. I listened to a sermon that talked about things that kill marriages (I pray none of our marriages and homes will be destroyed, in Jesus name). Then I went to lunch with one of my friends; we talked about many things– I was able to stock up on some fruits and veggies, so I thank God for that lunch date. Afterwards, I came back to my apartment to find that my wonderful mother had bought me some sweaters; I never expected it! Then this random guy contacted me. Then I had a moment where I wanted to disappear and RUN AWAY FROM EVERYTHING! Then watched a movie about a condition called preeclapsia (http://www.preeclampsia.org/), which made it really scary to be pregnant. Then I went to Nav Night, and the guest speaker shared his story of how he came to Christ, and it really touched my heart; I cried because it’s such a beautiful story, showing us that Jesus is a faithful servant, the most faithful. Now I am writing this blog post/journal.

The one thing that I really wanted to talk about is the fact that the random guy contacted me. He called me, then texted me. It turned out that a lady at my church had given him my number, which I’m not really a fan of– I thank God I was able to let her know my feelings about it in a nice, respectful way. I felt weird because I’m on a man-fast, I’m not supposed to be in contact with any “potentials”– but this man isn’t even close. Anyway, honestly, I wasn’t surprised because it always seems as though every time you want to do something specific, something comes to step in the way to try to distract you. A part of me felt like it was a test from God, but the other part of me felt like I passed. Even if it wasn’t a test, I’m grateful to God that I was able to tell the guy, in the nicest way possible, that I am solely focused on God.

Being focused is a great thing. I feel like I am sensing things more clearly. I feel like I am being put in circumstances where I have to “come face-to-face” with God, myself, my view of God, and my relationship with Him.

Overall, today wasn’t a giddy day like the last two days have been. But, the thing is, one doesn’t quit a commitment because of a bad day. I will continue to keep my eyes and my heart GLUED on my master, my Father, my husband, my savior. Although I can’t say I know who God showed Himself to be today (He was everything), I just thank Him because I just know He was (still is, and will continue to be) with me!

Day 2: My Encourager

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).

Day 2 went well, glory to God. I thank God for allowing me to start the day in prayer. I woke up today from a terrible dream, but I thank God that the Holy Spirit removed the fear and put me in an act of worship instead. Praise God for that!

After prayer, I washed the bathrooms at my apartment (it was my turn this week; now I don’t have to wash them anymore). Then, and this is the highlight of the day (one of the highlights), one of my friends called to encourage me about my mission! I felt the encouragement of God! I felt the love of God upon me– she went out of her way to encourage me! Here are a few points she made:

  • God has a purpose for me, so I should stop doubting Him. 
  • As a child of God, I can’t make a mistake– even my “mistakes” aren’t mistakes because at the end of the day, everything works together for good. Therefore, I cannot lose (cue Romans 8). 
  • Don’t look at the present situation because our God is a God of the future. 
  • For mission: remember how God confirmed your work to you in the first place. Hold onto that because it is your revelation. 
  • When God gives you something, don’t undermine (or question) it. 
  • Remind yourself why you decided to even do the work of God in the first place. 
  • Remember that destiny involves a breaking. 
  • ASK GOD TO ORDER YOUR STEPS. 

These were the main points of our conversation. I was so happy because it was needed, much needed. It was important for me to be reminded on those things and continue to focus on God and His work in my life. As a missionary, life is hard, but my God is better!

The rest of the day was filled with being in the presence of God. I was of reminded why it is important to have good Christian friends, friends you can watch something with, confirm whether or not it’s in the Bible, encourage each other, get blown away by revelations, and then pray together… It is ABSOLUTELY priceless! My two friends came to visit me, alleviating my alone-ness; it was a pleasure to have them around.

After, we went to choir practice. I came back, had dinner, watched some videos, talked with my pastor (who also encouraged me), and now I am writing this (journal).

I thank God! I’m happy for His encouragement! He sees my future– my future is secure in Him alone! I’m grateful and happy about that!

Now, I’ll go spend some quality time with my Father!