Food For Thought

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Every action we take first began as a thought.

Were Adam and Eve by the Forbidden Tree when satan tempted them? The bible doesn’t say, however, it does say that the tree was placed in the middle of the garden. I find this interesting, it makes me wonder if the tree could be seen no matter where you were in the garden. Adam and Eve in any case, probably grew accustomed to passing by the tree even if they gave it a wide birth. And it’s even more likely that they thought about the tree, even though they feared God’s wrath. Like a child told to not touch a plate of cookies, they may have outwardly taken a step back but inwardly imagined taking a bite.

And what about the Tree of Life? It too was placed in the middle of the garden for all to see, and yet unlike the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God didn’t command Adam and Eve to not eat of it’s fruit. They could’ve eaten it’s fruit at any time, possibly unawares since the bible doesn’t show God describing this tree or it’s name to Adam. He was placed in the garden after God had created the trees, and God only named and pointed Adam to the one that was forbidden. It makes me wonder if God placed the trees together for a reason, maybe as a possible test. Should Adam and Eve pass the test, then would God have then told them about the Tree of Life and offered it’s fruit to them Himself?

I’ve discovered that God never hides gifts from us but for us. Through seeking and overcoming challenges He reveals His blessings and secrets to us. In other words, maybe He was hiding the Tree of Life for Adam and Eve to find at the right time, when they had proven they were ready for it.

Another possibility is that Adam and Eve were more captivated by what they couldn’t have than what they could. That was the lie that satan deceived them with after all. He made them believe that God had withheld something good from them, when in reality He had given them everything including the Tree of Life. Did they turn their backs on it all because of that one forbidden thing? It is possible, considering how people are today. The girl you can’t have because she is married, the car you can’t afford, the cake you can’t eat because you are dieting…desire for something has been proven to increase the moment you find that it is forbidden or unattainable.

Lastly, as a final food for thought.

Did God want to see if Adam and Eve would fall into the same sin as satan? The bible describes satan before the fall as being given much authority and beauty. Some believe He was even the angel in charge of worship. (See Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14) His sin that led to him being cast out of heaven was pride. He thought himself a god worthy of worship, and in this he turned his back on his blessings and the one who gave him such blessings, all because of the one thing (the throne seat) he couldn’t have.

In both cases, the sin wasn’t in the thinking but in the doing. Eve taking a bite of the fruit, satan outwardly rebelling against God, turning to violence, and influencing a third of the angels to follow him. And yet, we should still guard our minds from such thoughts that lead to sin. Our thoughts and our focus reveal our heart, and a heart that is set against God does not go unnoticed by Him. Nor does it go unnoticed by those around you, eventually our true colors will shine through, spilling out in action.

What are your thoughts on the garden of Eden/the first sin?

I Fold My Hands

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I fold my hands

when trouble comes

and darkness blocks my way

because I believe

His glory shines

brightest in the rain

 

I fold my hands

when I am scared

I know His words are true

that no matter how the storm appears

what can it really do?

 

I fold my hands

when I am sad

no tear escapes His view

and every time He lifts me up

I know…

all I need is you

 

Lately, I’ve been going through a lot of stress. But I realized during prayer at church, how easy it is to still fold my hands and pray. How easy, yet also, how necessary. Prayer is more than what we do, it’s a part of who we are. It connects us to what really matters. God is our anchor and He has the final say no matter what we are going through. That is why I will always fold my hands, because God is bigger than anything we may encounter in this life, He understands and He has an answer. Just never stop praying, never stop hoping, and never stop believing…God is Good.

 

 

The Pharisaical Christian

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“And Jesus said, “For judgment, I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

– John 9:39-41

There are two kinds of Christians today. Those that reside in the Old Testament and those that live in the New Testament. Let me explain.

The Old Testament reflects an old covenant. It was a time before Christ when man had to strive for perfection, sacrifice to atone for sins, and had to follow many laws to be in “right standing” with God. This was an impossible task, and only a select few could experience God’s presence and live to tell about it. This covenant’s very purpose was to pave the way for the new covenant and to prove to us how very much we needed a savior.

The New Testament reflects this new covenant that fulfills the law of the old. Jesus becomes the bridge between God and man. The veil is torn, and the Holy Spirit comes down to live in us. Authority is given back to us, and our sins are forgiven. Now we no longer have to strive, but can actually “be” righteous because of the Holy Spirit within us.

I’m sure there are some emotions that we could say reflect each Testament as well. For the old, there is a lot of shame, guilt, despair, unworthiness, and unsatisfied hunger. We see a separation between God’s people and a one-sided power. Anyone who could withstand God’s presence or who was the chosen mediators held the power over those who lacked this authority. Towards the end of the old, we see what this authority created in the pride and self-righteousness displayed by the Pharisees. (Man strives/God works)

The New Testament was bought with sacrifice and pain, and yet we see an outpouring of joy, compassion, and power. There is hope and redemption, and everyone is treated as a brother or sister in Christ. No longer does your striving for righteousness lead to salvation, but belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah does. The message also changes from condemnation to love. (God works through man.)

A pharisaical Christian, therefore, believes in Jesus but from an old covenant perspective. In their mindset, the Holy Spirit no longer resides in power within us. Test them in this and you will be met with the same responses the Pharisees of old spoke to Jesus, such as, ” he (Jesus) casts out demons because he is the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 9:32-34). In all honesty, the pharisaical Christian is opposed to the very character and nature of Jesus, which promotes love above all else.

I would highly advise that we all use proper discernment because of this. I’ve discovered that many Holy Spirit led people have been labeled falsely due to this denial that he still works in miracles and power today. In other words, just as Jesus was labeled a demon worshipper for his deeds, so will many today that continue his work. Pharisees remain the same in every era, in that they will try to destroy and mislabel an act of God.

And what a serious crime it is to give satan glory for something God has done. This is the unforgivable sin that Jesus mentions in Mark 3:28-30:

“Truly I tell you, the sons of men will be forgiven all sins and blasphemies, as many as they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of eternal sin.”Jesus made this statement because they were claiming, “He has an unclean spirit.”’

I say this with sadness because they are our brothers and sisters also. The heart of every Christian is to please God, and I believe that this desire is expressed differently because we are divided on what God’s Will really is. I believe it is hard for many to grasp that God both prizes the law and its fulfillment in Jesus. The Old Testament served its purpose and is recorded as a reminder to us how necessary Jesus was in restoring our relationship with God. His original design is displayed openly in the Garden of Eden, where we don’t see sacrifices or an angry God, but a deep friendship and co-laboring that is again possible today.

Unfortunately, it is the pharisaical Christian that therefore promotes the image of an angry God, and if any are led to salvation through such a Christian, it is out of fear of punishment than out of a love for God. We’ve all seen the bible thumpers, the fire and brimstone preaching and signs held high with the unanimous message, “turn or burn.” As if Jesus’s sacrifice wasn’t enough to atone for sins as if it wasn’t in great love that God gave up His son freely for us.

We see what appears to be a change in the very character of God from the Old Testament to New because the covenant changed. The circumstances allowed God to be considered a friend to man, rather than opposed to man. Keep in mind, God still is opposed to sin, but thanks to the Holy Spirit, God can reside in us an work through us despite the sin around us. God is the ultimate redeemer, and He is redeeming us. The Bible is a love story, and God loves us so much that He didn’t leave us fallen and broken but gave His son to restore us back to that garden.

“I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends since I have told you everything the Father told me.” (John 15:15)

The law cannot be followed through the efforts of man, but now through the Holy Spirit, the law can be followed, without effort. This is because our hearts now reflect the Will of God. The Pharisaical Christian has not yet been transformed by this truth. They do not know how to embrace the new covenant and unlock it’s many gifts given freely and paid for at a great price. In pride, they memorize the Word of God and yet they refuse its power. The religious spirit keeps them bound and unchanging and this is falsely perceived as steadfastness. When in truth it is stagnation.

It might seem harsh and blunt for me to say these things. And if while your reading this you feel offense I want you to question where this feeling comes from. Jesus never once felt such a feeling, and yet the Pharisees grew offended at every turn. I have faced this feeling and have faced the spirit in which it is connected to. Humans can easily worship the wrong things, can misplace priorities and therefore lose focus on what really matters. Why? because we have an enemy dead set on dividing us all, distracting us all, and ultimately destroying us all. He isn’t worried about the Christian who places religious rituals and structure above a relationship with Jesus.

Lastly, I will say this. God is bigger than our idea of big, He is better than our idea of good, and He is more loving than our idea of love. Our boxes don’t contain Him, the Bible isn’t a book of all the possibilities of God, only a handful of such possibilities.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

If Jesus himself promised us that we would do even greater things than we must believe that greater things can happen. That the Holy Spirit is alive in us, otherwise we could do nothing apart from him.

My prayer is that every Christian would recognize their potential in Christ. That they wouldn’t be afraid to step out in faith and believe in God’s Word despite the world and maybe even their own brothers and sisters persecuting them. That they would be above offense and filled to overflowing with love and compassion for people. That they would see a person and not just a sin. That they wouldn’t condemn or judge another but would let the Holy Spirit work in their lives and convict their hearts toward change. That miracles such as healing, prophecies, and visions would be a welcomed act of God, and that division in the body of Christ would be but a long lost memory.

It is time to embrace the New Covenant of God, to walk in all its promises and gifts.

To reflect Jesus and His great transforming love.

 

Movie Review

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Last night our church watched the new movie Paul, Apostle Of Christ. The movie centered around Paul’s final letter, which became the book of Acts. Written by his dear brother in Christ, Luke the physician. Luke plays the lead role throughout this film, as he is seen not only risking his life to visit Paul in prison, but also challenging his faith and conviction that Jesus is the only way.

Nearly the entire movie is cloaked in the dark horrors of Nero Claudius Ceaser’s circus and rule. Christians are being murdered or tortured throughout the film so I don’t advise children under the age of 13 to watch. Though it is a dark film, it puts in perspective the pain and suffering the early Christians endured. Without Jesus in the flesh to lead them, they leaned very heavily on the wisdom and guidance of Paul. His letters were a source of strength, hope, and comfort. Paul reflected the heart of Jesus to those who had never met Jesus in the flesh.

When it comes to the factual accuracy of the film there are many scenes added in for show, since there isn’t much known biblically about the events proceeding Paul’s final letter. For example, the Bible doesn’t say that Luke traveled to Rome to write Paul’s letter nor that he partook in the healing of a centurion’s daughter, though this particular story is a reference to one of Jesus’s previous healings in Luke 7. Priscilla and Aquila are also a mystery since there is no reason or evidence that they would be in Rome at this time.

Overall, I believe this film merely captured the raw terror and intense suffering the early Christians endured. It showed their desperation and great need for direction as their faith was being tested beyond fathom. It is no wonder they lived for every comforting word Paul wrote to them, reminding them of their call and passion for Christ.

Other than that it is a rather hopeless feeling film with no miracles and little evidence of a Holy Spirit working favor within them. The healing of the centurion’s daughter by Luke seems to give glory only to his own medical expertise. As he is heard saying that he had seen the girl’s particular illness before and that experience gave him the wisdom to know how to cure her.

The end of the film brings only a small glimpse of hope and redemption, but even that is mixed with more pain and suffering. Paul is beheaded and many Christians are killed in Nero’s circus, however, Paul’s final letters make it to the church. lifting their spirits, and Paul is seen being welcomed into “heaven” by none other than those he had killed as Saul. Showing us that he received ultimate peace since throughout the film it appears he is tormented by the sins he committed before the Damascus experience.

I admit that when I first heard about the film, I was hoping to hear Paul tell his story, and it be acted out from beginning to end.  Instead, we see only a glimpse of his story in roughly three short scenes. And the rest of the film is told from Luke’s present perspective.

Despite my criticisms, I applaud the effort and do believe that this film will open many eyes to what it means to be a Christian. That persecution is a promise and that through Christ we can continue to love our enemies and live boldly, even in our darkest hours. There are many Christians right now that are being persecuted, tortured, and killed for their beliefs, and this film does give us a glimpse into that suffering and steadfastness.

Thank you for reading! and God bless!

Super Nova: Part 3

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Hannah’s Journal                                       Date: 2063 (on Earth), here, it is year 3.

Nova has discovered that she can lie, even though she isn’t very good at it. Pretty hard to hide a forest full of burning embers. It was an opportunity to teach her a valuable lesson about preserving life and controlling one’s emotions. She’s probably still planting tree seeds even as I write this. 

She call’s me “mom”, and I don’t have the heart to tell her the truth yet. Though, I love her as a daughter. (Nova, if you ever read this, know that I love you as my own, and I am so proud of you. You are growing, maturing, and even at three years old you love helping, I know you didn’t mean to destroy that forest. Your powers are great, too much for anyone to bear alone.) 

Anyway, at least Captain Thomas left us with enough supplies, and I have been able to cultivate this world’s soil. It is strange, being surrounded by mountains and forests, without the sound of bugs or the call of birds. It’s better this way, Nova is safe here, Earth is safe. Someday they will be ready for her, she will be a master of her powers then, I know it! 

Until next time, I hear Nova calling for me. 

Dr. Hannah Laurson closed her journal and sighed, a slight breeze blowing her long brown hair across her face. She pushed it back and peered out into the field, a small little golden head could be seen bobbing up and down as it darted across the tall grass toward her. “Mom! I’m done! I planted the seeds!” The little head called. Nova burst from the grass, literally, leaving small sparks and ashes in her wake. She looked behind her in shock, “sorry mom.” Hannah just smiled, “at least you’re noticing when you do it now.” She said as she took Nova into her arms.

Three years. Hannah remembered as if it was yesterday being aboard the spaceship, holding baby Nova, the only survivor. Her planet had been destroyed by a supernova only moments before Hannah’s ship arrived. It didn’t take long for them to realize that Nova had powers. Anytime she cried in hunger the ship became engulfed in a fiery cloud, as though a star had just died and it’s gaseous remnants remained. The closer they came to Earth the less likely it seemed Nova would be welcomed there, not to mention, the crew was afraid she would destroy Earth with her uncontrollable power. “If she’s this powerful as an infant can you imagine how powerful she will be as an adult?” They had exclaimed in growing apprehension.

Hannah had not made the decision lightly, but in her heart, there was no other option. As they neared the planet they had sent the probe upon earlier, she whispered to Captain Thomas her decision. After many arguments, he had eventually accepted her choice. The crew stood in shocked silence as she departed the ship, holding Nova wrapped in a bundle. Captain Thomas gave her all the supplies he could spare and promised that he would find a way back to her someday. It was agreed that the crew would report to Earth that she had died, that no survivors came from the destroyed planet, and that this sector of space was thoroughly explored enough to ignore at present.

As to how Nova acquired her powers, little was discovered. Though a blood sample revealed mutated cells, unlike anything Hannah had ever seen before. It was as if the dying sun’s radiation had “improved” the cells instead of damaging them, though this change was not without consequence. The cells could generate great levels of energy sparked by Nova’s emotional responses. It was a miraculous thing and a very dangerous thing. And so, Hannah decided to raise Nova in an environment set apart from Earth, a place she could be taught and could grow without the risk of destroying sentient life. It was her only hope.

 

Hannah’s Journal                                                      Date: 2067 (on Earth), year 7 (on Tranquil)

I told Nova how I found her. She had been asking questions a lot recently and I knew it was time I told her the truth. It was a terrifying moment, and yet she only smiled at me sadly and said, “thank you.” We didn’t talk the rest of the day, but Nova has kept her powers under control which shows me that she has matured so much! I am proud of her, and I hope that Nova will still call me her mother.

Before this adventure, this trip into space, I was a scientist, it was never my dream to become a wife or mother. I was married to my work and when I discovered that small planet struggling on the outer fringes of Andromeda I felt like that whole planet was my children. They needed help, they needed protection! And yet we were too late to bring it. Little Nova is all that is left of an entire civilization, an entire world. 

I gave Nova the little bag that was discovered inside the pod we found her in. I imagine it was from her real parents. They left what appeared to be some toys, clothes, and a letter in a language we have no way of understanding. Nova stared at the letter for a while, I know she was hoping that somehow she would understand it as if she could conjure some long lost memory. It broke my heart that I couldn’t read it to her, that I couldn’t tell her about her world. Not one thing. 

In a few more years I know that Captain Thomas will be returning for us, whether Nova is ready or not he will bring us home. I must say that I have grown to like this little planet we share. Nova named it Tranquil, I didn’t even have to explain what that word meant to her, she said the moment she heard me read it aloud from a book she knew. What an amazing little girl.

Hannah stared out over the horizon, it was nightfall and not a sound could be heard. And yet she could’ve sworn she had heard something. Nova, age 14, rested peacefully in their wooden home near the woods, oblivious to the noise that had roused Hannah.

Never had she ever felt unsafe on planet Tranquil, except when Nova lost control a few times. However now as she stood upon the hill she felt as if eyes were watching her, unfriendly eyes. The hair stood on her neck, she backed away slowly and once hidden amongst the grass she ran back to her home. I need to wake Nova.

Suddenly a large shadow obstructed her path, and before she could scream the creature lifted her off the ground.

Tranquil was no longer a planet of two.

 

Hannah’s Journal                                                          Date: Earth year 2073, Tranquil year 13

Captain Thomas is on his way! He was just within range for my transmitter to receive his message. Nova even seemed excited as I cleared up the message and played it for her. She has never heard another voice but my own, and even I had forgotten what Captain Thomas sounded like. We played the message over and over, even though all he said was, “Hannah, I’m on my way.” I can’t wait to see him again. To see Earth. 

I have talked to Nova for many years about Earth, and about how she must control her powers. The message didn’t sink in until one day a few years ago when Nova accidentally burned my arm. How she had cried and hurried to get the med kit. Until the time I told her about her planet and how I found her I believe she had always believed that we shared such amazing abilities. She has never hurt me since, and these past four years I don’t believe I have seen a single fiery ember fall to the ground. She’s ready for Earth. We both are. 

One last thing, something that is probably nothing but my imagination. As a scientist, I feel I should keep a log of this just in case. I’ve felt a lot of anxiety lately, a feeling of dread that I can’t shake. Maybe it’s my fear of leaving the planet, I don’t know. But in any case, I feel that I should write something in here for Nova. 

Nova, I want you to know that though we have lived on Tranquil many years, Earth is your home. There you will find people who will love and care for you as I have. I know that I have stressed the importance of controlling your powers, but it is equally important to me that you go to school, make friends, and maybe someday fall in love. A mother’s greatest joy is that her daughter lives life to the fullest. 

No matter what happens, don’t be afraid, you are a gift and it has been an honor being your mother. I love you to Earth and back.

Love, 

       Hannah

A scream pierced through the still night, Nova awakened with a start. “Mom?” she called fearfully, She quietly climbed out of bed and peered out the window at the darkness.

Nova, age 14, was now a tall and beautiful young woman. Her hair was still radiant, so much so that is seemed to glow in the darkened room. Her light brown eyes that often shown with joy and wonder now widened in fear. What was this feeling she could not describe? It sent cold chills down her spine and made her heart race, she struggled to bind in her explosive power, a power that she had controlled well for some time.

A flicker of a flame danced across her fingertips and for once she didn’t hide it but used it to light her way to the door. To her horror, she took in the sight of several large dark shadows that weren’t there before upon the broad grassy field. She ran back into the home and slammed the door, pressing her back up against it, immediately she heard many voices and felt something slam hard into the door, causing Nova to let out a gasp.

At the third slam, Nova was losing her grip, she looked at the open window on the far side of the house and decided to make a dash for it. She braced as one more slam shook the door and took off toward the window, diving out of it just as the door exploded open. She heard feet chasing her through the grass and woods but fortunately knew it’s many paths and trails better than her pursuers. “Where’s mom?” she thought in a panic, she wanted to scream out her name but was afraid that she would be captured.

She was just feeling more secure, without the sound of feet behind her when she suddenly tripped on something soft. She rolled over and was about to continue running when a hand gently clasped onto her ankle. Nova almost screamed but a voice quickly said, “Nova, it’s me!” She let a small fire dance across her finger and took in the sight of Hannah on the ground. blood poured from her shoulder and side and yet she smiled weakly at her. “Nova sweetie, it’s ok.” Nova felt her eyes fill with hot tears, “No it’s not mom, your hurt!” Hannah shook her head and reached up to touch Nova’s face. “Honey, I’m afraid I…” she began crying, “I have to go Nova.”

It felt like her heart was being torn in two, Nova held Hannah’s hand and wept. Hannah was no longer crying but looking at Nova as if she was her very heart. “Nova, you must defend yourself, wait for Captain Thomas…explain what happened, and then go with him to Earth.” Nova shook her head, “I’m not leaving you!” Hannah smiled and said, “I will never leave you…you are my world.” As soon as the words left her lips, the light faded from her eyes. Nova had never seen death, but she knew that it was irreversible.

She heard footsteps approaching her from every side, but Nova was no longer afraid, instead, a terrifying fury filled her very being and she stood up with fists clenched and fire in her eyes. Flames seemed to spring up from the ground and surround her, causing her radiant hair to shine like the sun as it blew about her. In the great light, she finally saw what the creatures looked like.

They were tall and cloaked aliens, with black leathery skin and blue eyes with black pupils. They had barbed like protrusions jutting out on their heads like many small horns. And though humanoid in build, they seemed to walk like prowling cats ready to pounce. Under their cloaks shone armor made from meteorite, and they carried with them jutted spears made of the same material.

Nova didn’t care what they were or why they were here, only that her mother now lay dead at her feet because of them. With no one to protect but herself, Nova unleashed her power. The aliens had only a moment to stare in awe before vicious flames consumed them and everything else.

6 hours later:

Captain Thomas took a single step from his ship and surveyed the scene before him. He covered his mouth and coughed as a gust of ash-filled smoke blew in his face. From every direction, all that could be seen was flat charred ground. Bodies of charred aliens lay scattered amidst the burnt trees and burning grass. Captain Thomas then spotted a crouched figure, sitting on the ground a few yards before him.

Nova sat on a blackened log and was crouched holding the only unburnt thing around. “Hannah?” Captain Thomas asked aloud, fear and pain crashing into him like a wave. He ran toward them and fell to his knees beside the still form of his dear friend. He looked up at Nova and saw her face stained with tears. He suddenly knew what had happened, after seeing the alien remains, Hannah, and the burnt land around him he said, “Nova, let’s go home.” She merely nodded, and together they carried Hannah aboard the ship.

It was sometime later that Nova finally spoke to Captain Thomas, as she watched the many stars and distant planets out the viewport she turned to him and said, “what if they follow us?” Captain Thomas nodded slowly and replied, “then they will have you to contend with.” Nova’s face grew serious, “you know I can’t,” there was a moment’s pause as Captain Thomas considered his next words, “Nova, power is only dangerous when it is in the wrong hands, I believe in you.” Nova looked at him with a confused expression, “why? you don’t know me.” He turned from the controls and gently grasped Nova by the shoulders, “I believe in you because Hannah believed in you, that’s more than enough for me.” Nova smiled at him and turned back to the viewport in thought. “Are you saying that I could be a hero? That I could use my powers to protect Earth?” Captain Thomas smiled and replied, “You are definitely Hannah’s girl, she gave her time, energy, and her very life to protect you.” He sighed and continued, “You honor her by reflecting her heart for people, that Nova, is how you give back to her and your planet, that is how you make them proud.” Nova starred at her hands, finally understanding her purpose, her destiny.

A hero, I could be a hero. Suddenly she had a reason to go on and felt her broken heart start to mend. I don’t have to be a monster everyone fears. I can give back to my planet and my mom. I can protect the last home I have.

Captain Thomas chuckled, Nova looked at him curiously, “what?” He shook his head, “oh, just an idea, a superhero needs a name you know, what if we called you Super Nova?”

And that is how it all began.

 

 

The Price of Dreams

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NOTE TO FOLLOWERS: Hey everyone, I know I haven’t written much lately, no worries though! I’ve been in the process of renovating my home, and after working at a factory all day and then coming home to work on clearing linoleum floors and stripping wood paneling off walls, I’ve been too beat to write. Soon we will have these projects completed and I will post before and after pictures. Thank you all for your continued support and God bless.

The Price of Dreams

All this renovating reminds me that our dreams cost. In order to achieve my dream home, I need time, money, vision, and some level of skill or connections to those who do. It takes sweat and sore muscles to make a mess into something beautiful.

There’s this Christian radio station I pass often on my way through town, they have a sign that says, “dreams don’t work unless you do.” At first, I was kinda irritated, I mean some dreams can just come true can’t they? The more I thought about it the more I realized that this isn’t so. Meeting the love of my life may have been easy, but cultivating an awesome relationship took time and energy. I had to grow, to let go of singleness and embrace the idea of two becoming one.

So many people today believe in entitlement. As though certain races, ethnicities, or genders deserve more than another. I don’t believe we are entitled to anything, we all come into this world human, and God blesses us each uniquely. The rest we must earn. Do some people get special privileges handed to them? Sure, but even they must learn to be responsible with what they have or it can be taken from them. For example, lottery winners…the majority of large sum lottery winners end up poor and broken, all that money was given to someone who wasn’t ready to bare such a burden. That’s right, money can be a burden, the more you have the more you’ve got to lose.

The fact is most people who you admire, who achieved their dreams, made it through hard work, and sacrifice. You can’t look at a ladder and expect to magically appear at the top just because you wished it. You have to climb, even if it’s small steps and through your dedication and effort, through setting goals and achieving them, you will make it to the top and it will be so much sweeter because you worked for it. And you will be ready to live your dream because at that time climbing the ladder you changed and grew as a person. God prepares you for your dreams, and He sets you up so that you will be able to bear the responsibility of them. You don’t want to be the lottery winner who was given too much too soon.

I’ve seen churches try and sell the idea of Christianity as though it’s a cure-all, fix all solution. No more rainy days! No more sorrow or pain! I must say, I can’t sell that idea because it isn’t true. What’s true is that through your rainy days and pain you will have purpose and you can find peace and even joy in Jesus. But that takes faith and faith comes through relationship and relationship comes through reading the Word, spending time with God, listening to Him, and being willing to let Him strip away the old self, the sin, and the brokenness. Christianity is sacrifice and submission. It is trusting in God even when you are afraid. It is standing firm amidst attacks and standing back up even if you have fallen many times. We aren’t entitled to this, this is a gift paid for in blood.

Don’t give up. No matter what you’re dreams are, just take that first step. Set achievable goals so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. You are able.

I’m achieving this renovation one nail at a time. That’s all anyone can do, one day at a time, one step at a time. Dreams do come true.