Monday, July 28, 2014

Perfectly Flawed | A Poem

Image by A. Jenkins on Flickr. Creative Commons License

I am...

Perfectly flawed. Yet, He loves me perfectly 
No, I'm not called because I'm perfect
I'm called to become perfect
A binding process
Like clay in the Potter's hand
I am indeed caressed by the hands 
Of a loving Craftsman
Yet, joined together again

Perfectly flawed.
I can't run away
It's me He chose
Yes, all my curves & imperfections
All my crazy innuendos
My crazy inclinations
All of me

Perfectly flawed
I'm that tiny dot 
In the pews of the church
Just grateful to be loved by such a Wonder
I am not your pastor
Or your minister
I'm just me...all flaws of me
Yet, He's called me to be Light for His glory
Do you know what He said?
"Daughter, you are...
A Chosen Generation
Royal Priesthood,
A Holy Nation
A Peculiar Person..."
Who me?
Yes me. 

So in all my strangeness
...and peculiarity
I'm perfect in the most unassuming of ways
I am who I am
Growing daily
Becoming who I was made to be
A constant metamorphosis
And so I continue
To Write
To Speak
To Encourage
To Bless
(doesn't matter what you think I am)

Because I have been blessed 
With such Love
To such an imperfect vessel

I am indeed blessed of all women
Struck with LOVE
Arrow right on my heart
Perfectly flawed
In His glorious unchanging perfect flawlessness. 

Written by J.A

Monday, July 14, 2014

What It Takes to Truly Grow in Christ

Dear friends,

Except you wish to remain where you are forever, your aim in life has got to be to move forward always. To progress. To stretch or expand. To enlarge your territory. To reach forth and touch greater things. In two words, "to grow."

Now, this is not just about any type of growth. It's about the most powerful growth direction we can ever have. It's about growth in Christ. Today, we have a post from an anonymous writer on this subject. May this touch someone's heart, and more than anything, may it be a word in season for that special someone whose heart God has been pulling closer.

What It Takes to Truly Grow in Christ

Image by Sarai Rachel on Flickr. Creative Commons License. 

You will always have the opportunity to be busy... be focused on work or career or friendships or any other thing that the enemy has gradually made or is making your identity. And before you dismiss the notion that your identity couldn't possibly be wrapped in something that sounds as shallow as work or career or friendships or a certain status or persona, or being spiritual or being an intellectual or being a theologian, pastor, etc., please be objective.

Here's the thing: it is possible to know scriptures and to say the right things, and yet not know the heart of God. And it is not enough of an excuse to point to hypocritical Christians and say because I don't want to be like that, I'll lead a life where I don't pour myself into God as much. I do not want to be weird or alienated.

Step back and fight away the automatic defiance or reasoning that says you are doing enough, or the impulse to compare yourself to another and conclude you are better. It's time for a change in the way you've been thinking. It's time to do more. It's time to grow.

What It Means to Truly Grow in Christ

To truly grow in Christ is to pay attention to Christ and the Holy Spirit. To truly grow is to make your interactions/devotions more about Him than your list of what you want (I am not saying you shouldn't ask for what you want). To do the above though, you must be brutally and rigorously honest with yourself. You need a daily desert to detox from the toxicity of the day – words, ideas, impressions, etc., that paint a wrong view of who you are and who God is.

"We truly live at the mercy of our ideas, especially our ideas about God." (Dallas Willard)

Two Qualities You Need in Order to Grow

1. You must be willing to see the darkness within to see your utmost need for Christ.

2. You must be willing to not excuse your missteps. Any excuse or reason you come up with doesn't change the fact that you did do A or B or that you felt or thought in a sinful manner.

Let us all get off our high horse. We are...

...the woman caught in adultery

...the betrayer called Judas

...the one with a blackened heart in Jer 17:9 

...both the Pharisee and the Sadducee

...the rich fool whose focus was building bigger bans

...the rich man that ignored Lazarus

Your Call to Action Today

Please carve out time to be attentive to God. Be ruthless about it, carve out time and mental space – ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your lives. Do not mold your day whereby you are so busy and even when you want to spend time with God, you sleep off.

It’s not that you can’t make time, it’s that you chose not to.

Daily carve out time and space with God. Interact with God beyond your devotional time, even a few minutes of interaction does your soul good. Do not see your time with God an item to check off.

His yoke is easy and his burden is light. If your day is too filled for you to fully turn to God for a few minutes, then something is wrong somewhere. You have too much on your plate. This is not to say what’s on your plate is somehow evil, it could be all noble tasks and interacting with great friends. However, to truly grow in Christ, you might have to reduce your commitment to those people and/or things so you can spend a bit more time with your Creator.


Monday, June 09, 2014

There's a Miracle in Your Valley

As she walked through the forlorn path in the middle of the valley, Temi knew instinctively that this would be one of the most difficult journeys of her entire life. She'd begun to run out of supplies. Her food was already finished, only one pack of biscuits left. She was sweating. Furiously. The bottle of water was almost empty, and although her tongue hung dry from thirst, she was willing to persevere until the sun went down, or at least till she could catch a distant glimpse of her final destination in sight (the mountain) before drinking the last drops of water.

This hike was not easy as all. Yes, she'd been warned by many who'd completed the difficult pilgrimage. However, a handful of people had also told her that the end was very worth it and self-fulfilling.

As she was still contemplating whether or not to drink the water, fighting between her heart and her head, her right leg took a direct hit straight into the hard surface of a big rock. "Ouch!" She winced, stopping dead in her tracks. She was actually crying now, she could feel the tears pouring down her soft cheeks. "Why did you come here, Temi? Why?" She questioned herself. "Why didn't you just stay back in your comfort zone? Foolish, foolish girl," she muttered.

Just then, she saw something behind the stone. It was moving...looked familiar. It was moving and glittering, reflecting the sun's rays. It was..."Water, water," she squealed in delight as she rushed to the small pond. What an unexpected miracle. What a hidden beautiful thing in this desert of a valley. It was fresh-looking water so she drank, washed her face, and was ready for the next part of the journey in no time.

[The story above is Flash Fiction]

John 4:3-4 NKJV

"He [Jesus] left Judea and departed again to Galilee. But He needed to go through Samaria."

The ultimate end of Jesus' journey as we see in this verse was Galilee. That was supposed to be his final destination. The pit stop, if you will. The goal. The planned outcome. When He woke up that morning His desire was to go to Galilee. However, it was recorded that in order to get to Galilee, Jesus "needed" to pass through Samaria first. Whether He wanted to pass through Samaria or not, it was the city that connected His starting point to His end point. Needless to say, He couldn't avoid it.

Stop for a second and think about it. Why was the connection point so important after all? It wasn't the end point, it was only the connecting flight. Do you know that one of the biggest revivals in Bible history happened when He stopped at Samaria for a drink? It was there He met a woman who was at the neediest point in her life. She'd been searching for the right thing in the wrong places all along, that was until she met the King of kings and Lord of lords.

When she realized who Jesus was, and how He was capable of setting her free...releasing her from the bondage of so many years, she became a one-woman army, an evangelist who spread the good news to anyone she could find. So many people came to Christ that day. And to think Samaria was not even the ultimate destination. 

God has plans for every single phase in our lives. I tell you, there's not one second unaccounted for. Not one minute. Not one hour. Even when we're in the lowest part of the valley and our eyes are looking far up into the mountain top.

So the next time we want to skip passing through the valley on the way to the mountain top, maybe we should stop and ask God, "what miracle do You have for me where I am right now, Daddy? I don't want to miss it."

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