Crinkled dollar bills

Have you ever seen that person struggling with the vending machine? Their demeanor suggests the day has been too long already and to make it worst the oversized box taunts them through a silent tug of war. Who will win, you wonder as the cold machine spits back out the crinkled dollar bill it refuses to accept. A forced straightening of the currency through the unfolding of the four corners begin to take play. The humming monster spits it back out once again. This time, a deep breath is taken before another forced straightening. It’s obvious this person doesn’t have exact change. You may have it, but you prefer to watch the spectacle, at least for a while longer. So now onto straighten this dollar bill by rubbing it against the corner of the monster box back and forth in a vain attempt to flatten the paper as flat as it can get. No luck. And now a kick. Frustrated, a body is thrown against the machine and then a shake. Watching closely for some sign of movement, the person tries once more. The dollar is placed in the slot. A few seconds pass, which even seemed too long for you, the spectator, and then that provoking sound of a returned dollar bill resonates the hallway. Out of pure frustration, the defeated person shoves the machine once more then turns, leaving behind the stale pastry they so desperately wanted. The vending machine wins again. And as a child who rubs it in once a victory is won, another passerby comes, pulls out a wad of balled up bills, unfolds one of the distorted currencies, places it in the machine’s slot and waits. You watch as the previous, hungry, individual is witness to the cold humming monster box gladly rewarding this new individual with the very snack he sought after.

A chuckle escapes and you quickly cover your mouth. The angry previous individual goes back to the drawing board. Perhaps the vending machine further down the hall will work better. The new individual walks away, happily satisfied. The vending machine continues to hum.

What’s the point?

In life, your goals may not go as planned. There’s a difference between persevering and being stubborn. You will have those that watch and laugh on the sidelines. Don’t be that person. Help if you can or at least go mind your business. (or as I like to put it after getting tired of hearing my kids constantly tell one another to “mind your business,” mind Jesus.) Someone else will be better at what you do. Don’t get angry. Rethink. Regroup. Rework. More importantly…What is yours, is yours. Your outcome is already laid out. Nothing will be just handed unless it was meant to. If something is detrimental for the goals you’ve set to be fulfilled, it shall be attained…in some cases anyway. Some things like the pursuit of The One who gives visions and the ability to acquire provision, that is totally up to you. Seek the Master of all goals, visions, and provisions. You will succeed…for your better.

So, what is your crinkled dollar bill? What are you struggling to make happen? Is it a matter of rethinking, regrouping, reworking, or a matter of going back to the drawing board and going before The One who gave you the vision in the first place…if, of course, the vision was truly from The Most High!? 😉

 

Saying goodbye to February

So February is nearly over and March sits awaiting your arrival. This may bring you some form of joy when looking back at all you’ve already accomplished in such a short time or the anxieties of being behind your plans can cause strain to your otherwise upbeat thinking. Toss those anxieties aside and cling to the thoughts of all things coming together at the right time. 

The best thing you can do before, during and or after crossing off your long list of to-do’s, the things you’ve defeated, mastered and accomplished or even decided against that it would no longer serve a purpose in your overall big plans for your life is this, let go and let God. The past few weeks I’ve decided to close some doors that no longer held a spot in my mind that required nurturing. I may at one time believe this to be my own thoughts and plans but I now know better. Things removed and newness added have shifted my mind and changed my motivations but the fact remains, the melting pot of visions and goals for my life have somehow all been coming together to land me right here, right now. Every decision, even the mistakes, if they can be called such, have reconfirmed my path, straightened whatever was crooked in my thinking and eased my spirit from my own humanistic concerns of making wrong moves and turns. His control, his plans, his visions for my life are being laid out before me.

You know it’s said to write your plans out. Write it and make it plain. Write them down and envision and so forth, yes. However, I also believe this is so we have a means of verification that He is listening. He is there. He is here. And He is in control. I laugh as I write these words today because what He is manifesting in my life is like…It’s like opening a gift meant for you from your parents that were put away unwrapped in the closet where your mom kept all extra gifts to give out through various times of the year for various people, just in case gifts. You believe that particular gift is yours and even prepare to receive it. This birthday passes, that holiday comes and goes. You receive other gifts but not that one. Time passes and you may even forget about that gift after convincing yourself perhaps it wasn’t meant for you after all. Then one year you receive something that is almost like an accessory, a piece that would go great with that gift and it puts a fire under you once again for that one main gift. That gift is what I’m meant to do, to be or become rather. It is me. The accessories are clues, hints, confirmations. What excitement it is to know that even if one clue gets you off course because you can be a little slow to understand from time to time, there are more that will automatically lead you right where you need to be. He will never lead you astray.

Habakkuk 2:2-3 Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

So no, my plans, lists or to-do’s may not have a bunch of checkmarks, and a couple of x’s, however, my path is becoming clearer and clearer. Sigh. Smile. And a jump for joy. Be blessed reader.

Confirmation

It’s more than déjà-vu. Not just a mere coincidence, nor a one-time yay or nay. It isn’t a whim of the “universe”. It’s so much more and when it occurs…you know without a shadow of a doubt, your path is made clear, your next move covered, your feet are lit by a lamp so bright that no blocks before you won’t cause permanent stumbling which can land you flat on your face…defeated. That is if we decide to listen to the obvious responses. What is it? Nothing but absolute confirmation. Yes, wonderful confirmation. Another important part of life which proves all the more that God is listening. Responding.

I’ve had a few run-ins with confirmation, that beautiful push or pull. To be clear-minded, guilt-free, and to sigh deeply due to happiness over a situation where without confirmation you’d be left blind, deaf and perhaps mute is nothing short of a blessing.

There is a specific time, however, that one must also seek confirmation in regards to perhaps a previous confirmation. I’m referring to the end or continuation of that previous confirmation. Often times we hold onto things so tightly because we’ve received the confirmation, the big Yes or no in some cases…in my life from God, that we neglect the fact that confirmation too is only for a time, a period, a season. So when is confirmations’ time up? You may need to pray on that as well. In fact, you should. You can ask yourself many questions, which would honestly be highly based on feelings at that given moment, but think. If God gave you that confirmation, to begin with, shouldn’t he have a say in whether it’s time for a new thing? Of course! Why not continue on a guided path? One that will guarantee a tour guide, The Ultimate Tour Guide, best suited for any experience you may have, equipped for any adventures and detours life may throw your way.

1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we in approaching God; that if we ask anything to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.

Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

…Reader, speaking from experience…keep your feet lit 😉

 

Fear of being wrong

It falls along the lines of fear of failure, however, in regards to spirituality and peace, it’s much deeper than that.

I’ve struggled with fear of failure before and have come to realize I’ve also struggled with fear of success. What a trap it is to face both of these nonverbal beasts. A trap that allows for nothing to be productive. A trap that grips tighter at one’s arms, legs and mind. Every discouraging thought flooding to the forefront of your mind each time you decide for a brief moment to accomplish something…anything, as if a steel wall was built there for that very purpose. What a trap. A trap that renders you numb to the notion of any attempts to show life. Visions fade. Goals vanish. Tasks are left undone. All this because of some phantom beast or beasts that exist in your mind’s mind to do nothing but delay, stall, procrastinate and halt your progress. Oh, what a trap. I thank Jesus for releasing me of these imperturbable traps.

Fear of failing is one thing, fear of success another, but what about fear of being wrong. Of course, besides the obvious pride that goes into this kind of fear, the thought that you can possibly be wrong about that certain thing can destroy someone’s life and well-being all together in one good swoop. I’ve come across many who have devoted themselves to things out of sheer excitement. These things, sometimes harmful, seem like a sure thing, at the time anyway. That being said it scares me so much for those people who refuse to accept obvious truths no matter how elaborate the proof is, out of fear that there’s that one off chance they may be wrong. I suppose this particular blog is just to say that although I know that I know that I know that Jesus is real, alive and well and all about my good, if by some off chance this was all an elaborate hoax, if the Bible was written by man’s mind, well if the joke is on me and I die and that’s it….

I had an amazing life. Peace, love, purpose…and so so much more…I would have had a blessed life. That being said I fell in love with Jesus and continue to work on my relationship with Him daily…with absolutely NO REGRETS, wrong or not…but, I’m not! 😉 🙂

Isaiah 54:4 “Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated…”

Romans 10:11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

No waiting in line and no appointments needed

These days there is no shortage of businesses offering shorter wait times and speedy services for a price most find reasonable enough compared to the alternative of spending one’s time waiting for the same outcome. Fast food, I’m guessing because research on fast food doesn’t interest me, however, was for convenience sakes, but now with the rise of social media, online shopping and the like, avoiding lines in itself has become a thing. What’s crazy, as we strive to avoid the wait time to receive conventional services and products, a lot of that wait time we avoid not only comes with a price tag to match but also some essential things may not be included. For instance, fast food, as convenient as it may be, lacks the nutrients we truly need from the meal. Not only that, nowadays in an attempt to avoid lines, certain conveniences such as fast food actually puts you right smack dab in a line that can take just as much time if not longer had you just cooked yourself. This blog, however, isn’t about fast food. 

I hate lines.

Who doesn’t right?

Over the years I’ve grown in my patience and am pretty good at adapting to a line I must be in, but something came to mind a few days ago as I worshipped and praised God for where He’s brought me and where He’s taking me. The thought was this…

When it comes to Jesus and his anointing, his blessings, his peace, his Love, all of Him, I don’t have to wait in line. In fact, I don’t even have to make an appointment. I suppose you can call this one of those Ah-ha moments when you’ve realized something so obvious but you were oblivious. His added convenience of no-line waiting and no appointment needed is one I am utterly grateful for. Plus nothing He gives comes without all the good benefits for your life. His unconditional love alone out of all his glorious benefits and gifts, you can’t get anywhere else. And if we think on it there are those people in life who actually, on purpose, make you wait for their love. How ridiculous.  Flip that though, because that’s what we do to Jesus. We are the ones who make him wait. And he’s the one offering so much. We are ridiculous.

Now for all those who need it, the disclaimer is this…Jesus isn’t a genie or anything that grants wishes on demand. He often gives you not what you ask for but whats better and his wait time for the things you do ask are always right on time, eliminating the perceived notion of that painfully tedious wait time. He is the ultimate provider, healer, comforter and so much more! If you desire His unchanging love and all that comes with knowing him I just want to give you that sense of Ah-ha I had and remind you…You don’t have to make an appointment or wait in line. We are the ones who actually make him wait. Yes, He’s actually just waiting on you. He’s always in the market for you. 

Isaiah 30:18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

…And If I had to, His line would absolutely be worth the wait, as it is full of all the right nutrients I need for every course in my life. God bless you reader and if getting to know Jesus more is on your heart and you need a little guidance, feel free to reach out.

 

Newness in 2019

Today, I am filled with speechlessness and awe that speaks loudly in my inner ears. Surely the feeling of contentment is birthed through this. My burdens seem to be shriveling before me. Yes, they wither, and crumble, and fall before me and I walk atop them with not a care in the world. I inhale and take deep sighs and breathe, savoring this moment because when you’ve been in the wilderness you appreciate all the more the clearing before you.

My trip was filled with family stories, dancing, joys, and laughter. New faces surfaced and old ones also made their appearance even if just by a mere phone call. It felt so short, but any good trip leaves you feeling that way. There was a time even on shorter trips when I felt I had overstayed my welcome. Those feelings dragged me back to the aftermath of an emotional earthquake, swallowing whole anything that could possibly produce some form of happiness and sense of peace. No longer. Not this time. This time was different in all the best ways. Of course, there were some bumps in the road. Family members getting sick and feverish as we were encased by the Massachusetts winters wrath, my older brother, ending up in the ER for a time, even after I had long returned home with my family. But if I’ve learned anything is that we all have a path and on that path, if we are to learn anything, it will never be just a path. It won’t be a clear clean road if we are to be better at the end of it. By God’s grace, everyone is doing well and health is being restored each day.

There’s a new lightness dwelling in me, a renewed lightness. It’s only the beginning. January still remains. It dares us to dream, change and mold ourselves, better yet to be molded. I am enjoying the process thus far, although I know at some point my human nature may want to run from such bending and surrendering, however, I am equipped to a point and continue to equip myself for the storms that are sure to come with this life. I am no longer completely blind. I am stronger and the All-Seeing continues to light up the path of my steps. New things are happening, newness and lightness. I will continue on this path but will focus on Him as he guides me because well, everything is new. I’ve never lived in 2019 before. Have you?

Joshua 3:3-4 giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go since you have never been this way before.

…Keep your eyes on Him and he will guide you. Don’t get caught up on the hypes that accompany newness, whatever that may be for you. You don’t know what 2019 has in store for you, follow Him and you won’t be disappointed. God Bless you reader 🙂

Timing

My expectations were, to say the least, none existent but my hope of a time well spent, unmeasurable. I actually couldn’t believe it, I was actually going back.

The trip had been planned one evening on a slight whim after confirming with a relative of room and board for the entire family. I never thought at that moment it would happen due to all the times that the trip didn’t happen. My mind had been made up a long time ago that I wasn’t going to push the subject or make my own way of going back since it was clear God was blocking my path. And so life went on, happily for the most time, I might add. A little over 5 years plus another son later, I found myself in the air on my way back to Massachusetts, this past Christmas.

Perhaps it was the renewed sense of peace I had gained throughout the years or the nostalgia of remembering where I came from and how far I’ve come…not in materialistic ways but within myself…but this trip, this trip was different from all the others before it. I wondered if all the other trips had been so calm and relaxed if I would’ve stayed away so long? Would I have taken things into my own hands to seek out family and friends regardless of the obvious need to let go and heal?  Probably so. We hardly know what’s good for us during good times little lone in the midst of hard times. Thank goodness for the trials that are actually there to protect us from ourselves.