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…

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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.

Remodeling

Thanks to bizarre circumstances the housing market has never been higher. Everywhere you go people are listing their homes in the hopes of scoring big…we’re one of those hopefuls.

But our home’s been a work in progress for over 5 years now. The ugly carpeted four-layered linoleum kitchen, super glued wallpapered dining room, and heavily wood paneled walls are all gone. More work remains, and now, that work has a timetable.

In order to sell we have to finish remodeling and do it as soon as possible (since the market prices will likely drop back down within this year—or even in a few months!).

And so these days you will find me chipping away at our grand list, alongside chores, caring for our son, working on my novels, and fulfilling church obligations…I’m tired, I’m sore, but I’m also excited.

My blood, sweat, and tears will pay off—whether we end up selling or not. Our home will finally be finished! But no one will know how much work it took to get it that way.

The more work that goes into something the better it is. Take paintings for example…if you go to a gallery you’ll get to appreciate beautiful works of art, but what you won’t see is the hours and frustrations behind the finished works.

Aren’t we the same way? Each of us are (hopefully) under construction. Everyone is at varying levels of completeness (but no one is really complete). When you see an athlete perform or even a world renown person of Faith like Billy Graham preach, you are merely seeing a small piece of an unfinished masterpiece.

Oftentimes, as a Christian, I feel people look at me and think, “life has been easy for her.” They see the smiling faces in my picture frames and on Facebook and think they’ve got me figured out. As if anyone’s life is picture perfect.

A person’s character or faith isn’t something handed to them, but something earned/forged through the overcoming of life’s difficulties. That is the measure of a good man or woman—their perseverance despite the devil’s attacks—to do what is right and to become something more.

I’ve been watching the TV series, Smallville, lately and couldn’t help but understand/sympathize with the lead villain, Lex Luthor. No matter how hard he tries to do the right thing, his plans always backfire. His father doesn’t love him, the town he’s trying to help recover financially isn’t respecting him, and even his best friend (Clark Kent) is lying to him…

“The road to darkness is a journey, not a light switch.” —Lex

I found myself believing that he’d somehow earned the right to retaliate—to give up on being good because the “do-gooders” around him weren’t what they appeared to be.

In many ways they painted him as a man of character and integrity, fighting his way out from under his evil father’s thumb. Now…I realize that it wasn’t “righteousness” that he sought after. But what came with it.

As much as he loathed a father who placed greed and wealth above him, he was no different in that he envied what the townspeople, particularly Clark and his family, possessed.

Clark’s father was a good man, his mother was alive, he had friends who trusted him, and (outwardly) wasn’t burdened by wealth or responsibilities. Lex wanted to be a part of all that, but couldn’t escape his father’s shadow.

This envy is what leads to the fall of many “good” people because inwardly they never really wanted to do the right thing. Just as many give their lives to God simply to avoid hell—missing out on the real reward which is a relationship with Christ.

This world is full of Lex Luthors. People who are selfish and prideful, chasing after their own lusts and desires. Such people lack character and sacrifice. Instead of allowing God to transform their scars they take each failure as another reason to trust in their own misconceptions of reality or morality.

In other words, they are proud of their disheveled home, where cobwebs are forming upon unfinished projects and scattered tools. “There’s nothing wrong with my house,” they say as they judge their neighbors from the porch—unwilling to surrender and admit to themselves that the state of their home is in shambles.

If you seek righteousness for righteousness’ sake, it will not matter how many people oppose you or how many times you face hardships. Why? Because you aren’t doing it in vain or for selfish reasons—your doing it because it’s the right thing to do and nothing the devil throws at you from within or without can change that.

As I remodel my home, I surely hope that I am also under construction. That I remain humble and willing to allow God into my heart to do only what He can do.

I don’t want my heart in shambles, or collecting cobwebs in neglect. I want to constantly be in a state of remodeling until the good Lord says I’m complete.

Is your heart under construction?