You are equipped

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“By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭13:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

God provided for the Israelites to travel by DAY or NIGHT. It doesn’t matter the time of day, the season, the amount of light there is or lack thereof, ; you have the resources to travel by day OR night. God doesn’t leave His children without. There is NOTHING stopping you from continuing forward. You cannot make excuses for something you already have. God has equipped you for the journey, it’s up to you to use the resources. Locate the cloud and find the pillar of fire, this is your heavenly compass. You have it in your spiritual tool box. You have your faith, your godly confidence, your resilience, your experiences. Let me encourage you today that you are NOT stuck. You are equipped to move forward.

Life Planner

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Three years ago, my sister got me my first planner. To be honest, I didn’t know what the hype was but the moment, I opened it up and started planning out my days and decorating each week, I fell in love! I decided to do this post because so many girls always ask me where my planner is from and it always brings me so much joy to let them in on my planner addiction. Fellow planner addicts know you just can’t stay shut about it. 🙂

My very first planner was the Erin Condren one and I thought I would never trade her in. But these planners are on the pricier side ranging from $50-$55 so the following year, I was on the hunt for a functional, pretty, and cheaper planner. This is when I found The happy planner which range from $20-$35. I loved her too! But of course, my inner planner addiction was just searching for something more. Something that was more interactive and christian based. This is when someone told me about The horacio printing planner. This planner has genuinely been my favorite thus far!!!

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When I first got her in the mail, I was obsessed. I fell in love immediately and couldn’t wait to find something, anything, to write in the pages. The planner I got is The lovely planner. It’s hardcover with gold coil binding and opens up to a little message from the creator Polly, which is super cute. But what I love so much about this planner is how interactive it is!

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Before going into the actual week-to-week and month-to-month planning section, there are pages dedicated to exercises of dream planning, a yearly bucket list, a refocus cloud, generosity planning, a heart check, and even a list for your fears. This planner got me thinking about my present spiritual life and how it’s reflecting on my everyday daily life. I was able to sit down and pray through my God-given dreams and goals to visualize how to accomplish them. But what was even greater, is how this planner includes a page where I can write out what is distracting me from putting forth the action to achieve my dreams and goals. I loved how where you list your fears, you can also write out a verse to counteract that fear because the truth is, we need reminders. A professor once told my class that God doesn’t help you remember what you first haven’t forgotten so this planner helps me remember. It doesn’t just help me keep track of classes, appointments, goals, homework, papers, to-do lists, exams, birthdays, and important dates but it helps me remember the things that truly matter; the people I love, the things that influence my spiritual life, the dreams I have, and the things I should do more of. It helps me prioritize and manage my time wisely without overemphasizing my schedule but what God wants me to do with the time He’s given me.

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I love how it also includes monthly praise reports! This is so essential because it helps build a heart of gratitude and praise which is crucial for a healthy christian life. It also has bible verses on each page which is a major plus.

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If there is one thing I love most about this planner is how minimal it is because you can just decorate away to your hearts content. I love stickers, washi tape, and colorful pens so this is great. I get my stickers and notepads from michaels, etsy, and target. I get all of my washi tape from michaels as well.

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If you’re looking for an interactive, christian based, functional, pretty planner then I highly suggest the horacio printing planner! Not to mention that 10% of ALL sales goes towards fighting human trafficking efforts; I mean, how awesome is that!

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I recommend this planner to moms-on-the-go, students, people with super busy schedules, the average 9-5 working girl, and anyone who loves planning! This planner is for everyone 🙂

Confessions of a girl and her hot chocolate

I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks but as my procrastination and perfectionism has it, I’m just now getting around to it. It’s been an interesting start to 2016 & to put it simply, a little difficult. I’ll be the first to admit that I love to put pretty pink bows on the days when I struggle. When I struggle to read my word, to make time to pray, and to drag myself to church; I like to put a nice smile on and act as if I’m not at all pushing my feet that feel as heavy as iron. So I’ve vowed to God & to myself that I’ll be as transparent as possible in this post.

About a month ago, my grandma passed, so off I went to Puerto Rico. To be honest, I didn’t want to go. All I wanted to do was pawn off the responsibility to someone else like my sister. I didn’t want to be the “strong one”. I didn’t want to “carry the load”. I didn’t want to be the shoulder that my dad had to cry on. I didn’t want to be the very person that I’m studying to become: a counselor. But as the day got closer to get on that 3 1/2 hour flight, I prayed God would fill me up with his peace and confidence. I prayed that I would be the leader that I needed to be for my family. I prayed for strength. And ultimately, I prayed God would use this trip to reveal His greatness. And because God is so faithful, he answered every prayer.

I don’t remember much about my grandmother except that she was a devoted woman to God. I can remember maybe 3 occasions where I met with my grandmother and it all had to do with God. She wore a white veil over her head to pray. But I don’t remember kindness or love. And that’s the truth. My grandmother was a prayer warrior. She left behind a great legacy that are far and few in between. She didn’t have riches, great possessions, or wealth. But she did leave behind planted seeds of prayer. And prayers don’t have expiration dates. They don’t have death certificates. So although I didn’t know her, I know of her and what I know may not include love, kindness, or patience; she did leave behind a legacy of prayer.

As I was on this trip, I came face to face with what it means to live a set apart life. It means giving up all that your flesh loves and desires. It means choosing to pray when you don’t want to. It means dressing modestly because you love to represent God. It means not gossiping or taking part in it because it hurts God, it hurts the other person, and it hurts you . It means giving without expecting in return. And how many of us give and expect at least a thank you? I want to live a life that when I give to someone in need, they thank God first. But living a set apart life means choosing to set your sights on heavenly things above. It means choosing to intercede for those you love day and night. It means picking up your armor and choosing to fight the very real spiritual battle that is going on. Living a set apart life means accepting where someone is, not necessarily liking it, and loving them anyway. It means showing love to the least and the greatest. Jesus didn’t discriminate. He was set apart by glory and we are set apart by love.

God confronted me with the truth that He chose me, just as he chose you, because He loves me. He chose me not because of the gifts He’s given me but because He’s placed His love within me. And I’m not meant to keep that love. I’m supposed to give it away. I’m supposed to show it to others.

I’d like to say that I came back completely delving into Gods plans but the truth is, I’m a work in progress and as long as I’m here, I’ll always be a work in progress. And I can’t make any promises because I fail everyday but I hope that I can love on people because Jesus chose to love on me. I want to leave behind a legacy of not only being a prayer warrior but of someone that loved people regardless of where they are, someone who gave selflessly because that’s what Jesus would do. I want to leave behind a legacy that doesn’t draw the attention to me but points straight to God. My prayer is that my life would always reflect God and His love.

Here are some pictures from my trip to Puerto Rico 🙂

  
  

As always, I pray you are encouraged, empowered, and most of all blessed ! 🙂

Bible study Wednesday 

A few days ago, a friend of mine and I started a study on the book of revelation. Because we can’t meet up everyday, we decided to share our insights through text after reading a chapter. So far it’s been amazing and so life giving. . . To be honest, I’ve been in sort of a spiritual low so I asked my friend April to do this study in hopes that it would uplift both of us.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in what needs to be done and we become overwhelmed with the burdens of the present that we forget the end goal. At least it’s true for me that I often times get lost in transition. I know what I have to do but I get caught in the pressure of doing it. And that’s exactly what stood out for me in revelation chapters 2-3.

Here Jesus is speaking to His churches and He points out that he knows their struggles but if they only stand firm and push through, they will be victorious. That’s the downfall sometimes, we become wrapped up in the pushing that we don’t allow ourselves to get through. But it’s in the getting through that we see and experience Gods glory. I remember I heard a preacher once say that it’s good that you’re going through things because at least you’re getting through!

If we only hang on like Paul says in Philippians 3:12-14,“. . . I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Paul understands that he has present struggles but he rejoices in going through them because of what he’s left behind and what is promised him in the future.

2 Timothy 4: 7-8 Paul says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” God tells us that he doesn’t allow for us to go through pains without something beautiful being born. And that’s what Paul is saying here, he’s saying I’ve pushed through, I’ve trained and run the race,  I’ve allowed God to change me through my trials so that I can get to the end goal.

Revelation chapters 2-3 show us that Jesus has amazing things in store for those who push through, get through, and finish the race. Jesus promises paradise, a new name, white garments, and a crown of victory. God is so good, so faithful, and so loving that he has a reward for you and me and everyone that pushes through for His names sake.

I pray that we all finish the race so that we can rejoice in Gods presence because He who promises always fulfills.

Be blessed!

Let Him be enough


As I was reading my word this morning: Matthew 19:29 jumped out at me.

It says, ““And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.” ”

Jesus is speaking to his disciples about the dangers of hanging on to money, wealth, & possessions more than hanging on to God. It’s easy to say that we’ll give up everything for God but it’s so much harder to actually carry out. It’s hard to let go of every earthly thing to gain all that Christ has to offer. To put it simply, Christ has given us the greatest gift: life; but more importantly eternal life in greatness. But because we love what we can see and grasp, it’s hard to drop the very things that are holding us back from grabbing all of Jesus here on earth. So I started thinking & I asked God to show me that His son dying for me was more than enough. And I wrote out this prayer:

Father God, show me that your son Jesus Christ dying for me on the cross is more than enough; that even if you don’t bless me with another thing, that I would be overjoyed because I have you & because I have a relationship with you, Jesus. – In Jesus’ name, amen.

So my prayer is that we would all learn to ‘Let God be enough’ no matter the circumstance . . .

Mission 24

  

If you’ve ever watched the “Bucket list” then you’ve probably been inspired to create your own bucket list. Well that’s kinda sorta what I did last year, minus the bucket part lol. After turning 24, I decided to do my own list of things I wanted to accomplish that year. I decided to name my list “Mission 24” . ‘Mission’ because it would be a mission to carry out all the things on my list & ’24’ for my age at the time. I honestly wanted to go for the dangerous & adventurous things like jumping out of a plane but I decided to keep it small & simple. Let’s not get too crazy lol.  I knew I wanted my list to not only be realistic but to ultimately glorify God. So I didn’t want to focus on myself & what I could do for me, but things I could do for others too. 

So this was my list: 

Mission 24

  1. Hug a homeless person
  2. Mail letters to 12 important people to me
  3. Pray with a stranger 
  4. Write a love letter from God anonomously
  5. Tell someone that they are loved
  6. Donate blood
  7. Write bible verses on post-its & put them in random places 

It may seem like a pretty simple list but these were all things that I would’ve been either too afraid to do, thought it was silly, or it was way out of my comfort zone. But I remember praying over this list & asking God to take over. I placed it in Gods hands & prayed over it frequently. To put it simply, God answered these prayers in such surprising & beautiful ways; in ways I would’ve never imagined. His answers caused me to step out of my comfort zone & conquer some fears but it’s in those moments that I saw Gods love first hand. If I wouldn’t have put “mission 24” in Gods hands, I wouldn’t have accomplished anything. I used to be one of those people that got super excited to start something & midway I’d give up. I was a giver-upper. I didn’t know how to follow through with anything but when I put it in Gods hands, God showed up and showed off ! I am so blessed to say that I can check off every single thing from my list because God has helped me complete my first mission. 

You see, when you put your goals, your dreams, and your missions into the mighty hands of God, you put it into the hands of the one that makes impossibilities possible. You put it into the hands of the one that sees everything beyond 360 degrees. You give it to the one that uses the earth as His footstool. You put it into the hands of the one that can never fail. You put it into the hands of the one God that can turn your finite ideas into infinite realities. Don’t allow your limitations to determine the unlimited power of God. I’ve learned first hand that when you pray through your goals, faith begins to replace fear. Doors that were once closed are now wide open. And in the words of Mark Batterson(my favorite author), God turns your prayers into unimaginable surprises. 

So, my point is that you shouldn’t allow your dreams to be buried with you. Put them into the hands of God and watch them be magnified into holy vision. I pray you would dream bigger than I did & join me as I start my “mission 25” . . . 🙂

Holy Vision

  
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25

 

Sometime last year, I decided to completely make over my room. I had no one to help me but I was determined to put in the hard work and get the job done. I went to home depot and bought everything I needed. I bought the paint, paint brushes, the sheetrock, sandpaper, and painters tape. Needless to say, I got started right away. I tore down the walls to my closet, patched up holes in the walls, and prepared the room to be painted. What I thought would have taken a day or two turned into about a month of work. Although I wanted to quit, I had this hope of what my room would eventually look like. I couldn’t see it just yet but I had hope in the hard work I was putting in. I knew that eventually my hopes would become reality. I knew that my vision would become concrete because I hadn’t lost hope. Thankfully, everything turned out exactly how I thought it would. I had a beautiful room and I felt so accomplished. Now every time I walk into my room, I’m reminded that being able to see things before they come to be is so powerful. There is power in seeing things beyond your means.

In 2 Kings 6, we meet a prophet named Elisha and his servant. Now Elisha was a man of God that often got into trouble for speaking the truth. This is exactly what happened in this passage. Elisha is being hunted down by the king of Aram for warning him of an enemy attack. The King hated the fact that Elisha knew things that he didn’t. So he sent his army to seize Elisha. When Elisha’s servant woke up the next morning, he went outside and saw this huge army approaching them! Immediately he was overwhelmed with fear and cried out to Elisha. I can imagine him screaming, “Elisha, do you see this hugongous army? What are we gonna do? They’re gonna kill us!” Of course the servants reaction is normal. His fear is coming from a very real place because there’s a very REAL army approaching them. But Elisha’s reaction is nothing short of amazing. He goes to his servant and says in verse 16, ‘ “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” ‘

How in the world does Elisha know there’s even an army with them? The bible only mentions him and his servant. But Elisha had the greatest gift anyone can have; he had holy vision. Elisha saw the potential possibility in an impossible situation. He didn’t allow his situation to taint his holy vision. In the middle of a battlefield, Elisha saw beyond his circumstances. He saw the possibility of winning an impossible battle because his eyes were not centered on the situation. He had hope that extended his boundaries. In 2 kings 6:17 it says, “Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” When Elisha prayed for his servant, his patience superseded his servants fear. 

We need to learn to see the potential of what people and things could be, instead of trapping them in our belief of their current state. That is having holy vision; hoping for things not seen. Elisha could have easily dismissed his servant, but instead he prayed that he too would have holy vision. Because of this, they were both able to see the great army of God fighting on their behalf. Having holy vision is where the SUPER collides with the natural. Its where impossible situations turn into Gods canvas for His greatest surprises. 

When you have hope in things not seen, you see the possibility of something before it comes to be. Just like Elisha, before the battle even began, he saw INTO the future. Because when God allows you to see His army fighting for you, you know the enemy that is against you will NOT win. When you have holy vision, you have INsight into the future because your faith and your hope gives you 40/40 vision. You see things that aren’t YET there. The key word is yet because eventually, Gods proVISION will come to pass. 

In Hebrews 11:1, it says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hope is a very powerful thing. It allows us to have holy vision because we anticipate the arrival of something we want or need. Just like Elisha, we are able to see beyond our resources. Hope is when we wait for healing for our mother with cancer while she’s still going through chemotherapy. Its when we wait for financial stability while still in debt. We have not yet seen these things but we hope that it’ll come to pass because we see the possibility before it even comes. We see the great army before the battle even begins. We see the finances before they even come rolling in. You see the freedom even before you are free. When you have holy vision you see the greatness of God even before you see God himself. But most of all, you believe in God and hope for His almighty power. 

Let Us Pray 

Father God, I thank you that you are the author of my hope. I thank you that you are the one that gives holy vision when I can’t see beyond my circumstances. So I come before you asking you to infect me with your hope in things unseen; that it would even be contagious to those around me. Help me have a vision like Elisha, that even though I’m surrounded by an impossible situation, I know you are the one that is fighting for me. So I ask that you would give me the vision to see your hand working in my life. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen
With love & many Blessings,

Neli