The Final Frontier

William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk) officially dubbed astronaut and the oldest person to go to space.

Obviously, as a Trekkie, I tuned into ABC’s news live to watch my fictional hero go to space. However, it meant so much more to the man behind the character. James Kirk had captained many voyages in space…Bill, on the other hand, had never been to space once.

Blue Origin has received a lot of hate for various reasons. But as I waited and watched, I honestly found myself excited by the technology and the dreams that made civilian travel to space an option. Maybe in the future…anyone truly can go to space. It’s thoughts like this that bring a smile to my Trekkie face.

I withheld an exclamation of “wow!” as I watched the ship called, New Shepherd, take off. The raw power and precision of it was astonishing. Watching someone I cared about—nerve racking!! As the ship gained speed, far surpassing 2,000 mph, I imagined the G-forces 90 year old Bill was facing.

And then, they were in space.

I could see the black coldness from the outer cameras on the rocket as it fell away from the lone capsule back to Earth. I gaped in awe as it’s thrusters were enacted and it landed almost perfectly back at the landing point—with a chest rattling boom.

It had successfully been to space (just past the Karman line) 15 times. This time marking its second manned flight. Here is the flight path of the rocket and it’s capsule:

When the capsule landed safely, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and the celebration commenced. Cars/trucks sped down the sandy paths toward the waiting crew, who are now official astronauts.

I watched as Bill exited, a little shaken up but moved by the whole experience.

I hope I never recover from this…” Bill told founder, Jeff Bezos. Going on to say that it was unlike anything he had ever experienced, and that everyone should go to space to encounter it for themselves.

Shatner: “I mean, the little things, the weightlessness, and to see the blue color whip by and now you’re staring into blackness. That’s the thing. This covering of blue is this sheet, this blanket, this comforter of blue around that we have around us. We think ‘oh, that’s blue sky’ and suddenly you shoot through it all of a sudden, like you whip a sheet off you when you’re asleep, and you’re looking into blackness – into black ugliness. And you look down, there’s the blue down there, and the black up there, and there is Mother Earth and comfort and – is there death? Is that the way death is?”

“…It’s so much larger than me and life; it hasn’t got anything to do with the little green and blue orb. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death. Oh my god, it’s unbelievable.”

Bill even breaks down on tears a couple times, so moved and changed by the experience. And it’s all very strange to see against the backwash of the other astronauts laughing and celebrating, champagne being passed and shot out all over the desert. Bill even subconsciously dodged the spurting alcohol, clearly apart from the young throng not only in mind, but in heart.

I was equally moved by his words. Although, such an experience for me would not be marred by the feeling that Earth is happen chance. Miraculous by mistake and doomed to be overcome by the black deadness of space should we fail to change how we treat her.

It’s fragility would not make me nervous or worrisome, but would give me a sense of wonder and peace that if it was not for God, we would not exist at all. This fragile blue orb is in good hands, and it is God that keeps it together. Are we able to destroy it? I don’t know…but I do know that what we are able to do is very different than what will actually happen.

God has a plan and a purpose. He has the final say.

As my son woke up, drawing me back to Earth—literally! I could not help but consider the brevity of life Bill encountered as he passed through the thin blue shield of our atmosphere into space. The lifeless void.

Is this death?

He asks, immediately feeling the absence of life for the first time. Whereas Jim Kirk would smile at the unknown, Bill struck me with a kind of fear and repulsion toward it.

This ugly black, this empty, cold, suffocating void of darkness…the total absence of life, in every definition of the term.

Our Earth resides here.

Our living Earth. And quite possibly—the only one.

When I look out at the stars, it’s majesty, it’s chaos, and now even it’s dangerous unknown…I encounter God there. He created it all (in my belief) for us to enjoy. Maybe even to explore….but I doubt we will find little green men or life on another planet….no, God spun the entire vast Universe into existence merely for us to look up at in wonder.

It proves that our problems really are quite small and infinitesimal. That He has the whole world in His capable hands.

I really hope that someday, Bill and others like him will come to the realization that God is in control. And it’s only by Him that this blue little orb survives and thrives amidst nothingness.

I pray as my son grows, he also will not fear the unknowns of space but will stare in wonder and the stars and, in turn, behold the wonder of God. Who exists apart from time and space itself. Who created this blimp of land, Earth, and sky for His beings to live upon.

“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. The Earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”…” (Genesis 1)

Take Up Your Cross

“What but a supernatural power could have preserved them [the Jewish people] in such a manner as none other nation upon earth hath been preserved.”
—Thomas Newton

Since the beginning of humanity, God’s people have been attacked, killed, and led astray. If one were to find themselves in doubt over the legitimacy of the Bible, he/she need only look at how this world still hates the Jewish nation and Christianity.

No other religion is hated/targeted worldwide. And in fact, the most violent of beliefs (Islam), which exists to purge the world of Jewish/Christian followers (infidels), manages to do so widely unchallenged. It would seem that no amount of violence could solicit the same hate that “we” get by merely breathing.

I say this not with an “us against them” mentality, but to shed light on the fact that the devil is still the ruler of this world. He is our enemy whose deception fails to mask his hatred and “mission” to destroy men and women of God.

This proves that the Word of God is true. Especially, when you take into account the resiliency of our Faith. Withstanding the hate of the world for centuries—and still growing!

The Jewish nation of Israel, for example—is still standing and growing in number/advancement, even when attack wages against it from every side and its allies fail to assist them.

The devil may run the world, but God is ultimately in control.

Our faith is not for the faint of heart. In the picture above, we see the final act of hatred. Genocide. Beginning with the Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, and in this picture, the Romans…who destroyed the great temple (a second time) and crucified many Jews.

No one knows the exact number of crucifixions. At one point, entire forests were leveled in the making of crosses, and 500 Jews a day were killed…

After Roman rule, the land of Jerusalem continues to be captured, conquered, ruled, and dismantled, and even today is under constant attack from Palestine and Islamic terrorists.

Jerusalem isn’t the only place of long suffering. As we know from WWII, the Holocaust (over 6 million Jews were tortured and killed). Christian genocide is also happening throughout the world, but not gaining the same public recognition/outrage. It would seem that the Holocaust was the last time the world cared about the lives of Jews and Gentile alike.

Based on the yearly findings of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC), an estimated 100,000 Christians are martyred each year.

Other sites agree that this equates to a Christian being killed roughly every 5 minutes.

Burma, China, Eritrea, India, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Vietnam are listed as “countries of particular concern” for Christian persecution by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s 2020 report.

That of course doesn’t take into account the latest developments in Afghanistan this year and how that has effected the region’s Christians and underground churches.

Here in America, there is also a hatred, and that hatred is being fanned into an ever growing inferno against the Christian morals and churches in this country.

Suddenly, we’re being labeled as evil, close-minded, uncaring, judgmental, racist, and hateful…and sadly, there are some religious spirit filled churches and people who haven’t exactly loved like Jesus.

It is up to us to break the stigma, to love like Christ, and stand firm on the Word of God and it’s moral truths.

Why? Because sin =destruction (death)

And as for our faith?

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”’ —Matthew 16:24-25

It’s all or nothing…when you become a Christian you are openly siding against this world and it’s leader. You are in many ways painting a target on your back, taking the road less traveled, and welcoming persecution in every form.

You are choosing self sacrifice. Selfless love, and surrender. You are declaring that truth, what is right, should be upheld regardless of how the world flees from it. Your offering up your life, your talents, your time, and your treasure onto God saying, “do as you will.”

In the years to come, you will be forced to decide between what is right and what is easy. You will either make a stand or bow, fight or flee, stand on God’s Word or conform to this world’s “truth.”

The age of American Christianity is (more than likely) nearing its end. And it will give way to real Christianity…the kind that doesn’t bend, can’t be contained, and isn’t easily extinguished. The kind that martyrs are made from.

Are you ready to pick up your cross? To follow Jesus to the very ends of the earth?

I’m not declaring that we will all perish as martyrs. My goal with this post is merely to awaken us to action, and to reflect upon our faith.

Regardless of what happens in America, it cannot be denied that times are changing and the church must react before that right is taken away. We need to ditch our fear of man, fear of dislike, and understand that if we wanted to be liked we wouldn’t be here, doing the ministry of Christ.

When does it become real? What side will you stand on when persecution knocks on your door?

Is Jesus really enough?

Kids Ministry and The Church

“Train up a child in the way they should go; even when they are old they will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6

A thriving, growing church is one that has a successful kids ministry. They are the future pastors, worship leaders, evangelists, prayer warriors, teachers, prophets/seers, servers, and spiritual heads of your church family.

Churches that forget their youth, forget what it’s like to live/love like Christ and stagnation quickly sets in.

“Jesus said, “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”’ (Matthew 19:14)

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

Working in children’s ministry all these years has taught me so much about the Heart of God. The wide-eyed wonder and love they have, their immeasurable faith, and their innocent trust is something every adult could and should benefit from. We need to surround ourselves with children!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children in ones youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them…” Psalm 127:3-5)

Raising and teaching children is everyone’s call. Even if you don’t feel like it is—I promise you that so long as there is something you can impart to the next generation—it’s your job to do just that. We are to mirror God’s Heart and what that means is, “we love what He loves.”

Guess what? Our God is also a Father and He has commissioned us to be fathers and mothers to His little ones. He will give each of us the tools in order to accomplish this task (privilege).

That same truth goes for churches. God will equip you as a body of believers to minister to children if you are willing to follow His lead and submit fully to what having a kids ministry looks like for your church and it’s vision.

At Hope, we place children’s ministry above all else. We don’t lock kids away but involve them in our worship and in our ministry. It’s not uncommon to see kids serving as ushers, greeters, teacher assistants, and even on our worship team.

If we view church as a family instead of as an “adults only” social club. Things will be messier but also all the more enduring and meaningful. I’ve never longed for heaven more than right now—surrounded by my spiritual family who I’ll continue doing life with for all eternity.

And so what makes a great kids ministry? How do we cultivate this “family” atmosphere? As preschool director of our church with experience in both daycare and previous children ministries. Here’s what I have learned:

1. Ageless Vision: As a church, we need to stop age limiting/targeting because the Word of God is always relevant for every age group. Remember, age doesn’t always equal spiritual maturity. So Sunday morning-speak to the masses-use relevant terminology/examples in your sermons and modern worship (there is music every age can appreciate). In other words: the world shouldn’t change for us, we need to meet them where they are.

Bible studies can be more age/circumstance geared for furthering personal growth, but ultimately you want people to independently seek growth as well, (You can’t bottle feed people forever: give them the tools and show them how to pursue God and then let them do it). Otherwise, they will always depend on you—even living their faith through you.

2. Love children: What you love, desire, pray for, and seek—that is what you will get. A church without children is a dying church. Having a modern relevant vision which isn’t “age” geared but “walk” geared will draw young folk. (Young people=children). Stressing “family” as a core value is important to drawing families and cutting off any “age” specific labels.

Family is more than couples and children. It’s aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers…the whole package. And each role is vital.

3. Seek financial stability: You can’t have a children’s ministry without the appropriate funds! So many churches have a poverty mindset and are either afraid to push tithing or are too pushy.

You want money to flow naturally? Tithe yourself, live by example and preach directly from the Word about giving/tithing. Also, handle your money well! Have regular board meetings to discuss finances and to plan yearly budgets. Personally, I would follow the Dave Ramsey plan which is literally foolproof for both individual living and church running.

4. It takes a village: I’ve been a part of churches where the pastor and his family do it all; from worship—to sermons—to running the kids ministry single-handed. It’s not healthy and it isn’t impactful. A church needs volunteers and teams of people who are committed to the vision and fulfilling their own call/anointing.

If you want more people to step up and serve at your church, first make them feel like they can. I’ve seen pastors who wrap up their identities in the church and don’t want to give up that control. Ultimately, the more you selfishly cling to something the more likely it will be taken from you. God will say, “you’re just not ready for this promotion yet.”

So equip your people to serve, seek the Holy Spirit and let go of the reigns a bit. Trust your family! Be a church that empowers others and is a safe place to make mistakes (we all make mistakes! It’s called learning). When a pastor or a few people run it all-it looks like %20 here, %30 there. When you place others in sole charge of things they can then give it their %100 attention.

5. Let’s have some fun!: You got the adults involved and interested—now you have to get the kids excited to learn about Jesus! This is easy to do since, “as I said” the Bible is relevant for every age. It’s your job to bring the stories and it’s messages to life for the short time you have these kids each week.

Drive your kids wing theme home from the walls, ceilings, hallways, and rooms! Make it colorful, imaginative, and fun! Divide age groups appropriately and develop lesson plans that fit the ages. This involves some trial and error if you don’t have experience with children or have any teachers in your church body.

Fortunately, your church should have parents who may have ideas, and you have the internet: between Pinterest, YouTube, Amazon, and google—you’ll have it down in no time.

Your teaching staff should love kids, pass background checks, be pursuing God on a daily basis, and be overall fun people who aren’t afraid to dance, play, and get a bit messy with your kids.

6. Protect your flock: Parents will notice if a kids ministry isn’t very safe. In this day and age—security is vital! Keep a ready list of people in your church who self carry, and who know CPR and other emergency/defense certifications.

Before people serve in kids-they must pass a background check (I don’t care if you’ve known them for years, set examples by not exempting anyone from this). Also, once they join-they need to be distinguishable from the rest of the congregation: give them T-shirts or badges that show they are serving in kids.

Implement child safety in each room from gates, to outlet covers, and being mindful of chick hazards/allergies with snacks, toys, craft supplies, etc. Document injuries (we call them incident reports), keep first aid handy, don’t let children go to the restroom themselves—also be mindful of gender (use separate bathrooms-don’t send girls to the restroom with a male assistant etc.—never have a closed door unless you are in the classroom with your assistant.

Develop a check-in/check-out system that makes it impossible for adults who aren’t the parents to take children. (Our motto: whoever checks you in is who can check you out). We use a digital check in system that prints out a slip for the parents to hand in when they pick up their child, and a name sticker that goes on the children when they are checked in so they can’t leave until it’s taken off.

I could go on (feel free to comment below if you want more specifics): we also use walk-in talkies, teacher support, emergency protocols: like for fire/tornado etc. You can never be too safe!

6. Avoid the burnout: lastly, every church should have a good monthly rotation of volunteers. Try to avoid over scheduling people who need to fill their own tanks in adult service. Obviously things happen, such as family emergencies or vacations in which you’re missing some people and have to fill the void. But, be sure to let people know in advance, and be firm with those who repeatedly don’t show. Dependability is important, even in families!

I know I’ve left out so many things, but hopefully this will give you a foundation to build upon as you seek to start/ or improve your kids ministry.

God bless you my family in Christ!

Please comment below any questions/ideas you have! We are all constantly growing and learning how to do kids ministry ❤️ as director of our preschool class I am always open to new ideas and welcome them!

Thank you 😊

A Thief in the Night

It’s been three years.

I only just met you, but already knew so much about you from my church family. They told me story after story as we painted and cleaned up the home you would be moving into.

God called you all to do ministry with us in Marion, Oh. You sold your home in Virginia, left your job and packed up your little two year old for the long trip towards a new beginning.

The church rejoiced. I’d never seen our pastor and his family so excited (they watched you grow and saw you as their own daughter).

I honestly felt overshadowed by your brilliant light. That you would very quickly replace me in their hearts because of your history, your love, and your faith. But it was a selfish fear and I drove it away by pouring myself into servitude. Helping prepare the way for you to come and settle here.

I wanted to know you. To be your friend.

You were here only a short while. I met and played with your beautiful son. I laughed with your amazing husband. And I hugged you, in passing, as we hurried about one Sunday. I hope to get to know you more—there will be plenty of time for that. I thought as we smiled and went our own ways.

Things were looking up. God was with us and nothing could stop our momentum as a family of believers….until…

I climbed into my car after work, and heard my cell ring. I answered and it was my husband Aaron. With a heavy voice he told me that Rachel Sullivan was gone.

What? Who?

I couldn’t believe it. The world stopped, and I saw Isaac’s precious face and her husband Jared’s smile flash across my conscious.

“There was a car accident…” Aaron didn’t say much more because he had our pastor’s son with him.

I hung up the phone and for the first time in my life I screamed and punched the dash, cursing God. “F**! F**!” I yelled with everything inside of me.

I had to pull myself together, after all…I didn’t lose Rachel…my church family did. Those who knew her since she was a small child, those who laughed with her and spent hours in her company.

Our pastor’s kids wanted us, needed us…

They came over and we hugged for a long time, and we took them for a long walk. And I vowed I would try to fill the bottomless void Rachel left behind.

I never did come close.

The next few days were slow, and shock filled. Isaac didn’t know and didn’t understand.

My mom had him and the pastor’s daughters over to swim and we all smiled and played with him while I balled inside. “THIS IS NOT FAIR!”

God why did you allow this to happen? You called them here!! Are you not our protector? I thought you were good! That I could trust in you!

My resentment and distrust grew. My rage and brokenness remained even as everyone else picked up their lives and tried to move on in faith.

I comforted, I cried, I prayed…and Rachel still remained gone.

We drove all the way to Virginia to attend the funeral. It felt so wrong…Isaac was turning three…and his mommy was going to miss it, and all the birthdays after that.

I remember the happy pictures on the slideshows…I remember Jared. Alone and crying. Living the worst nightmare. And I remember sitting in silence with my church family as they played the song, “Oceans (Where Feet May Fall).”

Rachel always wanted to have a baby and Isaac was a dream come true. She loved being his mommy. She loved coffee and people (working at Starbucks-where she was headed before the car accident).

She was gentle and fun loving. She was faithful and a good friend. I know this because of all those her life touched. She had ministry dreams which her husband is now pursuing.

It was this that put a wedge between me and God. I pulled away from Him and began to doubt He was who He said He was.

I wish I could say that I have fully overcome or that I have the answer as to why this happened to those I love with all my heart. But I haven’t and I don’t.

Honestly, I have to learn to accept that I probably will never know the answer. I have to chose (just like with any tragedy, loss, hardship, and attack of the enemy) to still trust and to still believe regardless of what I see or feel.

The reality of God and His Word have to be more important than my own feelings and this world’s realities. Death is coming for all of us someday…young or old it will find us. This is a temporary plane—and so we must fix our eyes on eternal matters.

We’ll all see Rachel again. And what a glorious reunion that will be for everyone her life touched here.

The devil’s sole purpose is to make us forget who God is, who we are, and our authority to change our lives and those around us. I know that if we were to ask Rachel whom she loves and trusts—her answer would not have changed, even now.

If I don’t trust Him…who will I trust? Who has the power to save? Who is our only hope of salvation and restoration?

I’m beginning to realize how much I need God. Whether I live or die (to live is Christ to die is gain), I choose to believe in Him and trust Him to make all things new.

He is still my protector and shield. His plans for me are good. What happened to Rachel was not His will or His plan for her. But He has brought beauty from ashes…and her legacy lives on (still transforming lives and bringing hope).

Our church is as strong and united as ever! In our pressing onward God has poured out His goodness and blessings.

Life goes on.

I say all this because I know that we share this brokenness. Some hurt dealt us by the enemy. He is the one who robbed you like a thief in the night, he took from you what was not his to take.

Please hold on. Don’t give up on God or fall into the trap that says; “He isn’t good!” What do I know of goodness? What do I know of fairness? Fairness would have been for all of us to die for our sin instead of Jesus.

Doesn’t God deserve the chance to explain and answer your questions in Heaven someday? Hasn’t He done enough for you to deserve at least this?

Rachel may have died, but God blessed her with so much all the years before her death. Look at her son, her husband, the thousands who knew and loved her. I refuse to let her life be summed up into this one accident. Her memory deserves so much more.

I’ve made the decision to keep climbing. Keep pressing. Even if I’m bloodied and broken I am going to finish my race! And the devil can push, torment, and beat me all he wants, I’m not letting go of this ladder! I’m going to stand back up every time! Because I can’t go back to not knowing the truth. I can’t deny who I am and who God is! No one can rip this from me!

If I made a list of all the good things God had done for me, it would go on and on endlessly…and my list of all the bad things that seem to fill my mind so easily would be very very small.

Fight the good fight, run your race. Don’t be afraid of death but of a life/eternity without God. That is the final death the “real” death we can all easily avoid.

Love God and love people, and when it’s time to die—you won’t die. And your legacy of love will live on long after, paving the way to Christ’s return.

You, my brothers and sisters, have a bright future. Don’t ever forget it! Rachel was a window into the brightness of Heaven. Surround yourself with others who share that same Jesus light so you never forget what is waiting in Heaven and what you can release now.

Our time is short…make it count.

God bless each and every one of you. ❤️

Take Your Medicine

“Medical science has made such tremendous progress that there is hardly a healthy human left.” -Aldous Huxley

Have you ever had your primary care physician tell you to eat right, exercise, sleep good, go to church, and surround yourself with friends/family/nature? Probably not.

Instead, I’m sure they’re responses tend to lean toward: “hey! There’s a pill for that!”

It’s no wonder that holistic medicine (natural remedies) are frowned upon in this modern era. There’s simply no money to be made from a healthy individual with a strong immune system.

Today’s Doctor’s aren’t the only ones to blame however. Think about old Doc’ Baker from Little House on the Prairie, for example. He was a good doctor because he told his patients the truth (a hard pill to swallow). He truly cared about their well-being to the point of offending/angering his patients. He wasn’t money hungry, but compassionate and selfless to the core. A true healer.

What happened to Doctor’s like that?

We destroyed them.

We wanted symptom managers, not actual cures. We wanted men and women who told us only what we wanted to hear and prescribed us quick and simple “remedies” that involved no sacrifice or change in ourselves or our life practices.

We, therefore, fanned the flames of medicinal perversion. What we see is what we get and what we (as a whole) wanted. Gone or hard to find are those who still care, who still pursue truth like the Doc’ Baker’s of old. Or in the very least, gone are those who remember what medicine truly is (was) and are now brainwashed into believing that the prescriptions they’re handing out are actually good for the body, leaving out the mind and soul.

-These “Doctors” are pushing for single parent kids to take many harmful drugs to satisfy lack of parental control/stability. (I’ve witnessed this many, many times working in childcare)

-“Doctors” are aborting children! Believing that it’s to the benefit of women’s health!

-“Doctors” are treating weight induced problems like diabetes, joint pain, heart disease, depression (in some cases), high blood pressure, etc. instead of tackling the source of the problem.

-“Doctors” are prescribing management medications for an array of mental illnesses without tackling the “cause or reason” behind the illness (of course I’m generally speaking for those who suddenly/gradually develop mental issues instead of being born with them).

And now, as Covid again rises and tries to strangle our country with fear. “Doctors” are continuing to push that which is not working all for the sake of $$ and compliance/popularity.

And what’s it doing to our health? This ignorance, selfishness, and fear?

Killing us.

There has been great technological advances in medicine that have saved countless lives, I don’t deny that. What I’m talking about is the growing imbalance. Medical intervention was supposed to be a seldom used option—not a first go to for our every ailment.

First and foremost, we healed/prevented illness through natural remedies, living good/healthy lifestyles, being a part of a community and through pursuing spiritual health/connection with God.

Today, we removed God from the equation (leading to poor mental health as we seek to fill an impossible void), we live unhealthy lifestyles (fast food/chemicals/GMO’s and hard metal contamination’s are literally causing severe developmental issues. Lowering male testosterone and prematurely rising female estrogen). We tend to live more secluded, not going to church, or living in close knit communities as we once did (also harming our mental health and herd immunity).

Many of us avoid nature and it’s rejuvenating powers, along with simply getting away from a tv/computer screen and going for a walk. (Being outdoors and moving helps lower depression and lethargy).

We’ve destroyed all that once made us strong and I find myself wondering what kind of weakened world we left for the next generation.

Masked faces, germx, chemical cleaners, quarantines, and forced experimental vaccines (many derived from the fetal cells of aborted babies)…all of these man made medical responses are costly.

As I battled yet another illness this year, I was promoted to post about this on Facebook, here is what I said:

I’m really starting to believe that illnesses (Covid including) are reacting negatively to our efforts to stop them. The truth is you can’t stop them, only speed up their mutations by giving them man made obstacles to overcome. Whereas before, all they faced was our immune systems—mutating slowly and normally in response to our bodies defenses (in turn making us stronger as a whole).

Now, we’ve upped the ante using germx, Lysol, masks, and yes, even vaccines! If they are going to survive they need to mutate quickly and become essentially near impossible to be offed. They need to infect faster and exhibit worse symptoms in order to keep spreading-despite our bodies and man made obstacles…they need to become unstoppable.

That’s how you create super germs. That’s how you upset the natural balance in which mankind remains a step ahead. In forcing everyone to treat Covid and illnesses (old, young, healthy, unhealthy) the same—we’ve essentially caused more issues for the old/unhealthy citizens.

I’m not against medicine! Or even all vaccines! They have done wonders for many! But there is a fine line that I think we have crossed, and it shows. Even doctors will say not to use antibiotics very often because it weakens the immune system. That vaccines aren’t always a guarantee, that the 1% of germs germx fails to kill are the ones who will become stronger.

Not all germs are bad. Probiotics are a prime example of this. They offer your body protection from viruses/harmful bacteria. Germx and medicines kill these good germs adding to the imbalance in our bodies and around us. What’s there to stop another pandemic? And will our weakened bodies withstand it? In the form of flu, pneumonia, and other illnesses? (The media keeps saying that this winter will be rough) why? Aren’t the masks working? The vaccines?

We are being forced into weakness and compliance by those who have “a cure.” Opposing voices are being silenced. Voices that tell you that you can help yourself by taking vitamin D/zinc (for example). What if the media (and other powers at work) want us to fully rely on them instead? They want our freedoms-but first they need our obedience. To get that they will try to convince us that they are our only hope. They’ll use fear and persuasion to draw us into their clutches.

Do you feel like illnesses are getting worse as a whole? That you’re getting sick more often? Do you know someone who had the vaccine and got Covid a second time?

Eye of the Beholder

On a daily basis we subconsciously ascribe worth and beauty to what we see around us. From the roses in our garden to the new girl on the block.

As I remodel my home and simultaneously search for a literary agent who will take on my first novel, I am left to wonder whether others will value my hard work as much as I do.

As I stated once before, no one will know the blood, sweat, and tears I shed, the time I spent, and nights I burned the midnight oil working. The truth is, the more we work/sacrifice for something—the greater it’s worth (personally).

Take a child, for example, who was freely given a toy. And another who worked hard, completing chores, picking up small jobs in their free time for weeks in order to buy that same toy.

Who do you think will value it more?

I tied beauty with value in this post because often what we value we also find beautiful in some way. There is an inward pull, an appreciation we feel toward it or them.

We are creatures of worship who also crave beauty (I speak of course, of a beauty that transcends what we outwardly see).

When I worked at a window factory, with its drab walls and machinery, I found myself starving for beauty. Those things crafted by the hand of God instead of by man. Sometimes, I would look up from my station and try and snatch a glimpse of the green trees through the high vents. And I would even smile when I caught a whiff of rain, or saw a dandelion seed float past.

Once home, I would immediately head outdoors to my hammock and just soak up the surroundings. Feeling rejuvenated and content.

Of course, to another, perhaps beauty is in the simplicity, instead of in the complex. What I found distasteful, another may find appealing.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

Do you see how different we are? Driving through town I often catch people picking through garbage cans and curbside boxes (dumpster diving) the night before trash day. Apparently finding worth in that which another found worthless.

Do you see how wrong we can be? “Oo-ing” and “awing” over celebrities (many of which are quite ugly underneath) while we turn away from those who have a heart of gold beneath their average appearances, wrinkled faces, and plain clothes.

That is why I am glad that God is the one who ascribes our worth. That He is the one who calls us each beautiful, looking purely at the heart beneath our temporary shells.

Jesus died for both the sinner and the saint. He loved us at our worst, at our ugliest moments. He looked at us “mere dust” and called us “priceless!”

If you find yourself staring in the mirror lately, noticing all too quickly the scars, weight gain, stretch marks, wrinkles/blemishes etc. It is time for you say, “I don’t have the power to define my worth—God does, and He calls me beautiful.”

Particularly us women always try to live up to the standards of men. We want to impress them with our looks and personalities—when really all we should care about is pleasing God (which in turn would open the door for the right man to come into your life). Our identity is found in Christ—placing it in anything or anyone else will always lead to disappointment and depression.

I really hope this speaks to someone out there. “You are more precious than rubies…” (Proverbs 3:15)

Your beauty is in the eyes of The Beholder!

Who He Is

Way Maker

I’ve had this song on my heart this year, and I really believe it was written for such a time as this to remind us of who God is.

The devil is trying is best to make us forget and believe all that God isn’t. In all the fear and uncertainty surrounding us, we must be sure of this one thing—God is Good—and He is a way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, and light in the darkness (hope) to this hurting world.

I want to break down this chorus phrase by phrase and back up these titles with biblical truth. Please feel free to listen to Way Maker while you read.

You are…

Way Maker

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)

“…God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)


“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6)


“Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters.” (Isaiah 43:16)

Miracle Worker

“You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.” (Psalm 77:14)

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

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

“The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book.” (John 20:30)

Promise Keeper

“Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” (Joshua 21:45)

“For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)

“…Who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions…” (Hebrews 11:33)

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Light in the Darkness

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

“His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand,
And there is the hiding of His power.”
(Habakkuk 3:4)

“From the brightness before Him
Coals of fire were kindled.”
(2 Samuel 22:13)

“And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.” (Matthew 28:3)

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)


“For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.”
(Psalm 18:28)

My God, that is who you are…

Ishmael

(God speaking to Hagar) “This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.” (Genesis 16:12)

It all started with a promise. God told Abraham and Sarah that they would bear a child and through him God would bring forth His people (descendants as numerous as the stars).

And like many of God’s chosen in the Bible, Abraham slipped up—BIG time. He grew impatient and decided to take things into his own hands. So he took Hagar (Sarah’s Egyptian slave) and conceived a child with her, named Ishmael.

Years later, Sarah finally became pregnant and Isaac (God’s promised child) was born. This created a problem that Abraham was forced to solve: which child will his descendants come from?

8 …on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham(B) was mocking,(C) 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman(D) and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”(E)

11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son.(F) 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[a] will be reckoned.(G) 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation(H) also, because he is your offspring.” (Genesis 21)

There are two things I want to clarify by God’s words here: the first, is that He loves Ishmael and Hagar. Just as Abraham loves them (Ishmael is now 13 years old).

Hagar took her son into the desert and when their water ran out, they began to cry. God was with them:

17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

God continued to protect and bless Ishmael who grew up in the desert, became an archer, settled in Mecca, and married an Egyptian woman.

The second point we can glean from these passages is that God gave Ishmael his own inheritance and promise. He is so faithful that even in our mistakes—He forgives and pours out blessings upon us. Abraham made a mistake in sleeping with Hagar but Ishmael was not a mistake!

Abraham was forgiven and Ishmael would be blessed with a great nation just like Isaac. In essence, God expanded upon His promise to include Ishmael because he was Abraham’s son. The only divide was that his descendants would not become the Israelites (God’s chosen people).

Instead, they would become the Arabic nation.

That is why the Quran (the Islamic holy book) holds Ishmael as a prophet and messenger. Although, even there, little is said about him except (in their words) that he helped Abraham build the Kaaba, regarded as the most sacred structure on earth to those of the Muslim faith (britannica.com).

Other Islamic books give more information—contradictory to what the Bible explains. For example; that Abraham tried to sacrifice Ishmael instead of Isaac.

In the back of your mind I know you are probably thinking; “the sins of the father weren’t quite forgotten..” To look at the Arabic nation today, we have seen hostility, death, destruction, and pain—very much like what God said of Ishmael before he was born.

But, Ishmael still had a choice, as did his descendants. They might not have been God’s chosen people in the beginning but nor were we. When Jesus came, He brought salvation and reconciliation to all people from all nations (Jew and Gentile alike).

Would his descendants become one family again? Would they let go of the belief that they were supposed to be “the chosen ones” the “fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham?”

No. But that doesn’t mean that God isn’t working to save them. Many are giving their lives to Christ even now amidst so much strife and fear. They are fighting against this deep-seated hatred that has been passed down through generations and trying to find peace and freedom.

I say all of this to remind us, as Christians, to love our neighbors. Even our enemies. In many ways we are being dehumanized—it is so vital that we do not do the same to those we are called to love. Or did Christ not love us even when we were still His enemies?

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Our battle is a spiritual one and our commission is still to save as many lost souls as we (Christ in us) can until Jesus returns.

So please, brothers and sisters, now is the time to pray for Afghanistan and those who have converted to Christianity and are currently hiding. Pray that the transforming love of Christ would reach more and more, and for divine protection against the devil’s schemes (working through the hearts of man).

Pray for the children (the future), that their eyes would be opened and they would finally put an end to the slaughter and generational sin of their people and find Jesus.

Pray even for the Taliban, that they would be radically saved and lay down their weapons.

There is still hope that many more will come to know Christ and a revival will spread throughout the region despite the spiritual battle against it. That is one unique attribute of Christianity—it grows under pressure.

Walk the Line (Part 2)

A “struggle session” taken during the Chinese Communist Cultural Revolution

I invite you all to take a glimpse back in time, when Mao Zedong enforced his socialistic Marxist ideals in China…the people had utopian dreams and assurances just as many Americans do today: no more poverty! No unequal distribution of wealth and resources! No starvation or lack of the basic necessities of life!

Mao quickly crushed any opposing capitalistic views and the whole country began its trek into the “utopian dream.”

The novel: Operation Ordinary: Live the Truth, Resist Democratic Socialism by Leah Pritchard, explains in depth the atrocities of the communist movement in China. Leah was given a unique inside perspective as a teacher, which she carried back to the United States in 2016. Appalled to discover that America was beginning to take that same trek…mirroring Mao’s step-by-step transformation in every detail.

What was his plan? Leah lists it clearly below (page 283) from the source: China: A Century of Revolution (3 part documentary):

1. Raise class consciousness (awareness)

2. Cast a vision for a new and better society

3. Silence dissenters through accusation and shame

4. Demand confessions (and apologies)

5. Implement socialist policies

6. Respond with damage control all along the way (concealing the harsh truth)

7. Mobilize student warriors

8. Re-educate the masses

9. Obliterate traditional culture

Reading through this list I’m sure there were some familiarities that came to mind. Especially if you fall under the white, conservative Christian label. How many times has the media targeted us? Told us that we are wrong, privileged, need to apologize for being born a certain race, or having certain beliefs that our country once held unanimously?

We are quite aware of our class differences more than ever. There is a great divide between Republicans and Democrats, the working class and the wealthy, race, gender, religion…you name it. Suddenly our differences and uniqueness is being erased and labeled as bad. To the extent that to be white =racist, to be a Christian=LGBT hater, to be a Republican=every foul name in the book.

A vision for a brighter future has been cast, strangely, by the same people who stirred up the masses to hatred and division in the first place. Socialistic policies have already slowly leaked into our society, and our colleges and schools have become training grounds or “brainwashing” faculties for the youth of tomorrow.

There is already talk of re-educating those who oppose, and we see this in a broader scale by the erasing of history, misleading propaganda, and misinterpretation of news. The controlling and censoring of what can be seen, heard, and read online. America once had the freedom to know and determine truth for oneself. Now that right is disintegrating as all our sources for truth are given over to those who have a plan.

Traditional culture is an even more blatant issue that’s under attack. Traditional family unit, religious beliefs, American ideals…all changing and warping: disappearing entirely.

The Chinese people were ready to go all in once Mao’s purging plan came to an end and everyone was united (having forced the capitalists to bend/flee).

“The centralized government gradually took full control of the land and the output of farms and factories. National healthcare was established. (And) Private property was abolished.” (Page 331)

Everyone in the labor groups transitioned to communal living. Working side-by-side in the fields/factories for their vision while their children were raised by the school/ daycare systems.

All that was earned/produced was distributed to large cities leading to an unprecedented death toll as starvation hit an all time high—within 3 years!

30 to 45 million peasants died…as they watched truckload after truckload of grains and crops they had planted and harvested with their own bare hands being hauled away to fund Mao’s socialist initiatives and to feed people living in the cities.” (Page 337)

Of course the general public knew nothing of this (damage control at its finest). The media is just as clever today at hiding the truth. Look how they glorify Islamists, Palestinian terror, Biden and his sketchy officials, and of course socialist countries…

Technological advancement and innovation in China was also stunted, making the farmers/factories inefficient to produce the needed resources to fuel their socialist cause. They didn’t take into account that the innovators, scientists, engineers, and intellectuals made up much of their wealthy neighbors. In silencing them and taking over their businesses they silenced their own countries potential for growth and development.

Mao’s failed plan led to new rises in capitalistic voices, and that is when he turned to the youth for his salvation. Brainwashing and re-educating them, turning them into communistic activists with the goal of destroying capitalism—by any means necessary.

I think you can imagine what transpired after that. And you can still see today the continued ramifications of the socialist movement in China and other countries as well. And so that brings me to the point of discussion today—socialism in America (more specifically, democratic socialism).

Do you remember my questions from part 1?

Can we collectively cure the human condition? And what assurances could we have, what freedoms or (fail safes) could we enact should our socialist dream backfire—like it did in China?

Those are the questions one should consider before deciding on socialism as a cure-all to our country’s social/economic woes. Because in order for socialism to work, even remotely, it would require that every man, woman, and child gladly give up their freedoms for the sake of the whole. It requires that everyone live a selfless, sacrificial, giving life.

Greed, therefore, cannot exist.

The lusting for power must be purged from the hearts of man…something that has never been done before. And so, already this utopian dream is flawed. In the name of being treated equally and justly, socialists would gladly give up their individual rights to those who would treat them unequally and unjustly.

The human condition remains unchanged: people are greedy, lazy, ungrateful, selfish, and require incentive to do whatever it is they do. Or do you know many people who love their jobs enough to work for free? Many of the jobs that we need are not easy jobs. Profit and earnings are therefore essential.

And so, like China, there will be opposition to socialistic ideals and that opposition will make it obsolete. Capitalists will not be silenced and so violence will ensue. They will dehumanize us (something already occurring), and when silencing (threatening/punishing/re-educating) fails—murder or exile will be the only option left. And those who will carry out this final phase are the very ones who carried out the final phase in China—our youth and governmental authorities.

Power given away is not power easily taken back…

I could go on and on about this, stressing the importance of history and the importance of our freedom (paid and bought by blood). When other countries riot against their dictatorships, they oftentimes wave the American flag. We are the land of the free! Everyone who is oppressed dreams of America!

I’m not pretending that our country is perfect—it isn’t. But if you would really look back and study our history, the decisions and policies that have been enacted over the span of a 100 years. You’ll start to find some correlations; socialism has been trying to take hold on this country for awhile. And it’s the Democratic Party that is taking the reigns of this movement and pushing for it.

“The poor will always be among you…” (Matthew 26:11)

Is that an excuse to not fight against it? No, not at all! But it is a promise that this temporary world can’t be fixed. The devil is its ruler and it is only through the love of Christ that we take back territory and bring Heaven here!

You see money, drugs, weapons, you name it…they are merely tools. Not necessarily evil not necessarily bad. It is us “the people” who use them in ways that harm ourselves and others.

God’s original design was for the government to protect and the church to heal.

In a capitalistic society we have a choice, one that in a socialistic one we are denied.

That choice…is to rise. To win! To chase dreams, work hard for them, provide for our own families. Work where we want to, live where we want to, start businesses, let our creativity flow! We can say what we want and live however we want to, be it selfishly or sacrificially. We have our own wills and desires, our own minds, able to think and decide for ourselves. We can use our unique talents and know how’s to store up wealth or we can give it away. That is the American dream, the heart of what it means to be free.

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”— Margaret Thatcher

“The democracy would cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” —Thomas Jefferson

“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” —Alexis de Tocqueville

Walk the Line (Part 1)

Nazi marching in Germany (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)

The world was not prepared for the evil that Hitler wrought upon the Jews. We couldn’t comprehend the vast number of followers his maniacal hatred bred—a flame that fanned into an all-consuming inferno. Costing the lives of over 6 million innocent Jews, 40 million civilians, and roughly 20 million military troops…of course those numbers are purely based on recorded deaths…many more were never found. (Lumenlearning.com)

In our history books we can look back into the very eyes of these men and women; the victims and the oppressors. Sometimes I wonder, if it wasn’t for the uniforms, could we even tell the Nazi’s apart from anyone else—just by their faces alone.

In school, we learned about the wars, the losses, and the names of those heroine and foe who did either great or terrible things. But never once did the history books try to explain “how.” How could 13.6 million people turn their backs on their fellow citizens and embrace an ideology of antisemitism? Willing to torture and kill people that once lived side-by-side with them? And how could one man accomplish this?

This widespread brainwashing was something that the rest of the world wanted to sweep under the rug, believing that it couldn’t possibly happen to their own citizens and leaders. This failure to face the deep evil that mankind is capable of would only allow for more to follow.

Our world is always at war. You may not hear about them all, but they are happening. Wars in Africa just this past year, have led to the deaths of 1,000-9,999 people (Wikipedia.org). That’s the result of 25 active conflicts currently happening—and we know nothing of this (seeker.com).

The cumulative list of current wars can be found on worldpopulationreview.com. Give it a glance and I’m sure you’ll be just as appalled as I am by the conflicts, deaths, and seemingly disinterest of the media concerning them. This is the world we live in.

Again—we can look at the data, read up on why the conflicts are happening—but what about the how?

This same website sums up “why” into several answers:

“…economic gain, territorial gain, religion, nationalism, civil war, and revolution.”

They go on to say:

“Often, countries’ leaders are the primary motivator of conflict between and within nations when they test their limits, such as instigating a territorial dispute, trying to control another country’s natural resources, or exercising authoritarian power over the people.”

In each case (excluding those who are merely trying to overcome crime/terrorists) there is a governing power and with that power is a voice that sways the masses into violence. These “wars” erupt from within rather than without.

Very few set out to do evil. Many start off well-intentioned and believing that what they are fighting for is right. The authorities in place offer us many things; protection and order among them. However, just as we fail individually—collectively we can fail all the more devastatingly.

I believe the only way we can answer the “how?” Is by understanding our human failings, particularly from a Biblical perspective. We were created to rule, conquer, and to worship Him.

After the fall of mankind; we still desired such things, but our flesh added to those desires, twisting and warping them throughout the ages. We wanted peace—yet we killed to acquire it, we wanted to rule—yet we gave our authorities over to those unworthy of it, and we wanted God—yet we killed His only Son.

I think Spock (Star Trek) said it best when he considered the human condition: “Curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want.” That we do, Mr. Spock…

A wholly surrendered life to God is the only way we can obtain anything purely good. Every “good well-intentioned thought/plan/idea” a part from Him will be thwarted by the devil and quite honestly—ourselves.

And so how these things occur is no mystery to those who recognize our failings and great need for salvation. Only through Christ can we maintain our righteousness (albeit imperfectly), and achieve lasting and desirable outcomes in our world today. That is how Heaven’s reality invades Earth.

All this talk of how and why; emphasizing on universal human failings collectively and individually is leading to my main topic or reason for writing this particular 2 part blog: And that topic is —socialism (in America).

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, it’s inherent virtue is the sharing of misery.” —Winston Churchill

“…Socialism could never have worked because it is based on false premises about human psychology and society, and gross ignorance of human economy.” —David Horowitz

Why Socialism? It is a relevant issue today in our capitalist America, as over time—socialist ideas/policies have integrated themselves into our society. Meanwhile, in China and Korea, communism is continuing to tighten its hold on its people.

What is socialism? As a conservative Christian my definition is highly resented. However, all beliefs aside—socialism has proven itself closely tied to communistic ideals. In many ways socialism is the first phase of the resulting communism (in my opinion). Even a google search will tell you that China (for example) is a socialist country.

The Merriam-Webster definition is as follows:

-Various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. (There are no private properties)

-A stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

They go on to explain that throughout history the terms socialism and communism have been interchangeable and hard to truly define since the Marxist ideals have been either loosely or rigidly followed resulting in different forms/levels of socialism.

In essence, it stems from the belief that individual wealth/private properties/income/etc. creates a societal imbalance of power/wealth/resources to the masses. Socialists believe that time+resources=value. That we should all share and collectively own wealth/resources.

And this is typically when they paint the great utopian future should socialism be implemented in our country: “No more poverty! No more rich people hogging all the wealth! Everyone will pitch in and work together to create and build! Everyone will share everything willingly! No one will starve! No children will be uncared for! Greed and [insert your own sin] will virtually disappear!”

All great things right? Who wouldn’t want that? It sounds like a dream…a perfect world…a lie.

You may think my claim is baseless and biased, but I have ample truths to back up my reasoning…but for now, I want you to ask yourself these questions which will transition to part 2 of this blog:

“Can we collectively erase evil (curing the human condition on our own?). And what assurances can we have in a socialistic society should our government fall prey to corruption?

In the next part we will dissect the pros and cons of socialism and why no matter how many times or ways it is implemented—it always fails to do as intended.