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

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.


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."

When You Don't Need to Ask for Anything

Let me tell you a little secret. Even in the midst of chaos, there can be the presence of peace and stillness. Times when you just know that He is God and deserving of every ounce of your worship. Times when you don't need to ask for anything because you just want to praise His holy Name. At such times, there is an innate desire, an undeniable sense of urgency, to just fall down and worship the King.

Because you know that He is your God. Because you know He sees all things and knows the end from the beginning. Because you know that not all closed doors lead to dead ends. You understand that at the turn of the second hand of your clock it is not unbecoming of Him to perform another crazy brand new miracle in your life. Yes, He can arise any moment He so chooses. Just like that. Perfect timing too. He does not wait for the agreement of man and neither is He a respecter of person. He just is the Alpha and Omega.

You don't need to ask sometimes. You only need to be confident in who He is and what He has done before. We ask for things over and over again because we are human and uncertain. But in the presence of God, lay down your guards and trust that, as crazily as it may sound to your logical self, He has already acted on your behalf. Faith is the substance of things not seen. It's a substance, although you can't touch it yet. That's the mystery of a mighty God.

Yes, it's a mystery that we can have victory every single day because we have a victorious God, no matter what the weather forecast says.

The more we worship Him with confidence, believing He has already done what He said He will do, the more we will see the works of His hand revealed. The more we wouldn't need to ask, because we already have what we're asking for. And the more we will worship at His stillness, in peace, and with utmost excitement. Try it out. Exercise your faith today, will you?

Know the Child of Whom You Are

I love the home I grew up in. My parents were selfless, sacrificing everything to give their children the best of nurturing, love, undivided attention, and top-notch education. We didn't have all the riches in the world, nevertheless we still felt like more than a million bucks. We had everything to fulfill our needs. I don't remember ever being envious of another family because my family was the best as seen through my little eyes.

As a result of being the child of my father and mother, I've grown up to be the confident woman I am today, knowing that I will be all I aspire to be. There's this unrelenting and unapologetic level of boldness on the inside that comes as a side-effect of knowing the child of whom I am. It's natural. In-born. A feeling that can't be easily unraveled. A result of a deep understanding of who I am.

But that's not all there is to the matter...

My Highest & Foremost Identity:

I say all these, boasting of the earthly parents God gave me. But what about the Giver of life? What about the One who was before time began? The One who fashioned me in my mother's womb and catapulted me into a destiny bigger than I thought I'd ever experience.

"I am, more than anything else, a child of the King." 

Truly, this is my highest identity. If I limit my knowledge to just my parents, then it would be a mistake...for the lines of my inheritance (and also of yours) is far greater than just the family you were born into.

Know the child of whom you are. You are a child of the king. You are royalty. It doesn't matter what physical family you were born into, because some of you reading this might have had one or two problems while growing up with your family. But you were born into your family for a reason. No, your life is not merely about what you can receive from the world, it's really more about what you can give. Forget how the world has failed you. Push aside thoughts of how someone has limited your progress. Broaden your mindset right now. You were born to bring a gift into this world, a rare innate ability God has placed inside you that, when you find it, nothing (and no one) will be able to stop you.

So, friends, today you should hold your heads up high and walk around with some extra dose of confidence. Because you are a child of the King. The Author of life as you know it. He has given you what it takes to thrive. To succeed. To excel. To beat all the odds. To rise above indignation. To be an outlier. To walk among kings. To thread upon serpents. To be ROYALTY. Now and forever.

Psalms 139:13-18 NKJV

"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You."

Tell me, what will you do with this knowledge? Countless things, I hope...:)

From One End to Another Beautiful Beginning

Just when you thought you'd reached the very end...

In 1 Kings 17, there was a drought in Israel. Nevertheless, God chose to protect his prophet Elijah by sending him to a specific location, a brook that flowed into the river Jordan, where ravens were to be his amicable hosts -- providing faithfully for him by bringing him bread and meat twice a day. He also had a nearby brook to drink water from. At least that was until the brook dried up.

When the brook dried up, all hell let loose. It became the end of sustenance as Elijah knew it. He must have reached the end of his ropes, wondering what exactly was to happen next. His "secret" supply of water had run out. What was he supposed to do now?

But something happened that proves that our God is faithful. At the end of this assignment, another new one was already waiting...just when Elijah thought he'd reached the very end. As soon as the brook dried up, a new instruction came from the Lord telling him that it was time to move to the next location, Zarephath. There, he would find a widow that would provide his next supply of food and water. And that was exactly what happened (plus two extra mouth-dropping miracles of course).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2014: A Beautiful Beginning

Today, I'm here once again to let you know that God isn't done with you yet. You are in a brand new year. 2014! It actually sounds sweet to say. Two. Thousand. And. Fourteen. Last year is burnt, over, and done with.

If you are reading this, I speak greater things into your 2014. If you reached the end of an assignment in 2013, I want you to know that God isn't done with you yet. Yeah, your brook might have dried up. You might feel like you've reached the end of your sustenance, but God has another assignment for you (you should start smiling right now). If you felt blessed in 2013, you were only just scratching the surface of your blessings. Rise up. Raise your head up. The Bible says "the expectations of the righteous (those wrapped with the righteousness of Christ) shall NOT be dashed."

The question is: what are you expecting in 2014? Are you stretching your neck to see what God has in store for you this year? Or are you already feeling fearful? Please let it not be heard of that you are afraid. Be excited, bold, and confident of your God.

At the end of one's temporary assignment is usually the beginning of another beautiful one. As long as you still have breath in you, God still wants your life to bring Him glory. There's still much of your purpose to live out. So with this, I raise my glass to you and say HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear Readers of the Light-A-Lamp Blog. Cheers to another beautiful beginning...

Love, J.