You’ve Already Got It

https://www.facebook.com/zionequip/videos/1018497522426480/?vh=e&d=n

Watching this radical video about healing without prior knowledge of this extraordinary couple would be easy to dismiss as fantasy.

But I can attest to their character and testimony, having attended their church, served there, and even having undergone their school of ministry program.

This church is special to me. These pastors are special. They fear no man and love Jesus wholeheartedly.

They changed our lives, or rather, God moved through them to awaken us sleepers to the truth. And the thing I love about these people of God is that they aren’t afraid to say, “I don’t know.” This is because they have such a faith that someday they will know. And are so in love with Jesus that whether they receive the answer or not, it doesn’t change their decision to press in and give Him all the glory.

I must say that we did see the miraculous at their church, Zion. We saw things in the Spirit that cannot be explained and would appear truly magical to anyone else. We witnessed people healed and were able to be a part of it in some way.

It was an honor and a privilege (a wellspring) of peace and healing during our time here. But God didn’t want us to remain there in paradise and we were deployed back to our hometown. We left on good graces and were even anointed with oil to do work here in Marion.

And today I find myself wondering what happened?…we were taken from the nursery with all the tools we would ever need, but doubt was still rampant in our hearts. And the devil fed our disbelief through horrific tragedies and constant attacks since our blissful time at Zion.

The very first day at Hope we still had that flame. And God even used us that day to pray over a woman having a miscarriage in the bathroom. That baby survived and is healthy and well! Many members of my family began attending church and I was seeing God move in their lives.

But the longer we were removed from the wellspring, the more we forgot what power we carried and our doubts, which had been kept locked away within us began to resurface from those dark depths.

We lost Rachel in a car accident.

The world was thrown into a pandemic.

My son and I suffered constant illnesses (2-3) a month since he was a baby. Even today, I still keep getting it wrong, and have dealt with a severe viral infection and other issues (but thank God, James has only had a runny nose for two weeks and no other symptoms!!)

I must say that amidst all of this I pulled away and that led to picking up my fallen self and pulling from church to the point that I only served in kids ministry (I am director of PreK).

For the first time in my life, I just didn’t want to sing in the worship band. And I struggled with anger towards God and His people (the two go hand-in-hand).

Now, to make the story short, I’m finally healing and seeking God again. Having realized that there is nothing in this world that will fix me or make me whole. Jesus is the only way—and we must all choose to suffer for Him. I say suffer, because Christianity had always been easy until now.

Now, my walk is real. And I need a real faith.

I just read in James that Faith requires works to not only exist but to grow. In other words, we must step out more (even if it’s baby steps) in order to grow our faith. You need to take steps of faith in your own life and healing.

My pastor and his family were very sick one time, and they just said “ no more!” In their spirit and got off the couch and went for a walk. It was the last thing they felt like doing but it was a leap of faith to do so. They were putting their bodies back under their authority and also they were believing they were well before they felt like it.

I wish I had all the answers and all the faith when it came to healing and why sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. But I do believe it’s something worth pursuing the answer to, but not worth the expense of your trust and peace in God and His Will.

I fell down a rabbit hole of lies believing God didn’t care that I was sick when in reality it isn’t about pleading to Him for healing but about opening up the gift of healing He has already given us.

Someday, I too will understand and know. But until then, I trust God, make declarations, take leaps of faith regardless of what I see and feel, and give Him praise.

God bless you all!

How to Pray

“Ask, and the gift is yours. Seek, and you’ll discover. Knock, and the door will be opened for you.” —Matthew 7:7 TPT

Most of us know the verse above by heart, or at least have heard it recited at church or on social media. It seems so simple, so cut and dry. If I ask God for ____ I’ll receive it?! That’s all I have to do?!

Throughout my life I have prayed in different ways and for different things. Typically, what I was taught at each church I attended built upon the next. Just as our maturity in Christ should be ever-growing and expanding upward, so my knowledge and experience about prayer equally grew.

That being said, I’m still just a babe in my understanding of it! And my recent spiritual setback hasn’t exactly helped. But I feel it in my heart to share the things that I have learned in the hopes that you would avoid some of my frustrations and misunderstanding concerning how to pray, how to hear, and how to receive.

So here it goes! Let’s take a look at some more verses on the matter:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6)

…The list goes on, following a theme of thankfulness and faith with the promise that God hears and desires that we live a prayerful life.

But then we find verses like this:

“…But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do” (James 1:6-8)

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3)

There are more verses supporting that prayers made by a wicked heart (unrepentant) and intent are not heard by God. But also that those who do not listen to God are in turn ignored during their time of desperation.

“…And just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen…” (Zechariah 7:13)

This of course supports the notion that prayer and its success is dependent upon our relationship with God. Certainly at the very least, we cannot expect to hear God if we can’t even recognize His inner voice. This only comes through relationship and if you want to know Him and His voice—that first comes from reading His Word.

So let’s review our list so far of what we have learned about prayer:

1. It requires relationship. Obviously there are circumstances God has heard and responded to the prayers of those who have yet to truly walk with God. Such as children, or those who just began their Christian walk. God is merciful after all.

2. It requires humility and a truly repentant heart. In other words, someone who is saved and whose motives are pure-minded. God isn’t a magical wish granter, but Almighty and worthy of our respect and reverence. You can’t fool Him with dishonesty (He sees the heart behind your words).

3. It requires trust (Faith). Surprise! Not. You have to stand on His truth and His promises. To doubt in His ability, goodness, or willingness is to place more faith in the devil and his schemes. It is to fear (misplaced worship) the devil more so than God. Be honest about this with God and pray for more faith and belief. Read God’s word to grow your faith!

4. It requires the Spirit. The Spirit is God with us. Oftentimes your prayer’s answer and even someone else’s! will come through the Spirit in that He is the bridge or conduit between God and man. Prayer isn’t usually a disembodied letter we speak out, seal up, and send to the stars. In fact, it’s a conversation, a back and forth banter between friends. To pray without ceasing it literally to talk/listen to the Spirit and for Him to respond through his inner voice or through His leadings. Deeper but not unlike how you would speak to your spouse or close friend. The Spirit also prays on our behalf when we don’t have the words.

5. It requires thankfulness/praise. Many verses tie the two together. And even Jesus demonstrated this to His disciples when He taught them the Lord’s Prayer. Begin every prayer with praise, not just because it gives glory where it’s due, but because it re-centers your heart on peace and joy (the blessings you have already been given). A life of thankfulness leads to a joy that is not dependent on prayer’s response.

So in summary, to know God is to share His Heart and Will. Prayers that are non-selfish and pure are heard by the Lord.

A born again believer carries the Holy Spirit within them which means that they carry salvation (when God looks at you He doesn’t see your sin or old self, but Jesus). As well as the ability to not only hear God, and feel His leadings, but to even be the answer to prayer in one another’s lives. We have authority paid for by Jesus to do many things. Among which include (cast out demons and heal the body).

The believer who studies and reads God’s Word, the Bible, grows in relationship and recognition of His voice (discernment). The Word also has power when spoken aloud and memorized (stored in the mind to be used later as fiery weapons against the enemy).

The prayerful believer is one who is always aware of God (Holy Spirit within) and talking/listening to Him as if He were beside you. Just as with a best friend, you aren’t always speaking but you’re always aware of each other’s presence.

And lastly, the prayerful believer lives a life of faith and trust in their best friend, and putting to work their faith, and recognizing all that God has done for them, both seen and unseen—this proves He is all that He says He is.

I want to finish with a thought that struck me today. And that is:

God doesn’t respond to our need. He responds to our Faith.

I believe that my problem as well as many of you reading, is that we ask God out of desperation and want and speak to Him very little the rest of the time. We come trembling before Him, not over our reverence for Him but over the crushing weight of our trials. We doubt. We disbelieve, we pray as a last resort and not our first go to.

We set expectations on God in how He will answer us when really our only expectation should be that He will answer. Faith is simply expecting God to move and trusting that He will provide at just the right time (which usually isn’t on our timing) and in His own way (for He knows what’s best for us).

It’s like taking a leap off of a cliff knowing He will catch us. Or like, in the Bible, Abraham, knife poised ready to kill his son because he believed God would fulfill His promise and save him in time.

Our trust and faith should be just as unwavering and sure. And let me tell you, it will look like insanity to the world who craves assurance, tangible, and scientific fact.

My prayer to all of you is that you will prioritize prayer and Bible reading again in your lives. The world craves it even though they do not know what they want and need. Times are darkening before us and we must choose to either fade into the black or shine brighter still with the truth of Jesus and the works of His Holy Spirit within us.

Reflect on the prayers you have uttered. What was your heart posture behind them? Did you have expectations or doubts? Did you thank God first? Did you come to Him as a first or last resort? Did you listen to His response or leading in your spirit? Did you fail to see His response because you had preconceived ideas of how He would answer you and by which method that answer would come?

Keep and open mind, journal your prayers, and make it a conversation again instead of a formal long distance affair.

God hears you…

He is always speaking to you…

And…He loves you.

Upside Down

“For you formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” —Psalm 139:13-14

From the moment the pregnancy test showed two faint lines—I knew I was going to be a mother.

Everything changed in that moment of understanding. God had blessed me with a gift, a human being. And it was something to be celebrated regardless of the “how” we would prepare for this new arrival.

The finances, the pregnancy hurdles, my job, all the things we needed…those unknowns paled in comparison to the joy. God would not abandon us, nor our unborn child.

As we prepared, our selfish ways began to melt away. And continued to do so long after our son was born. As is the way with parenthood, we are changed. Willing to sacrifice it all for our kids. They are our legacy—God’s precious jewels, paid for by the blood of Christ. The kings and queens of every nation. Born for such a time as this…

And worthy of protection above all else.

Only…they aren’t protected, far from it in fact. And instead of us willing to die for our kids, now we expect our kids to die for us??

Women are forgetting their own value and identity. So much so that they are killing their offspring and calling it good.

The very same evil that Israel fell into in the Old Testament:

“They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods . They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.” (Psalm 106:37-38)

Today, we sacrifice our children to other idols, the idol of self. Convenience killing. The idol of Feminism. Not the same feminism which once fought for the right to vote, for equality.

This breed of feminism is birthed from a lust for power and to “be” god or the heads of society. The curse against women, was that they would desire to control or rule over their husbands (Genesis 3:16). This began the power struggle between genders.

Of course, through Christ, these curses no longer have influence in our lives. If we are born again, the old self is gone and the new is here. Christ took the sins of the world upon Him so that we could start anew—as blameless as we were in the garden before the fall.

Sadly, much of the world still clings to the fallen man, unrepentant, unchanged because they do not know Christ or have His Spirit within them. If our identity is not in Him then it will be in another—in this case, self/gender/sexual orientation.

Sin is never satisfied where it is, but continually seeks more until death is the result. Like a drug addict, the sinner spirals deeper into deception, and the devil of this world laughs. He knows mankind and our pitfalls, just as he knew Adam and Eve’s. There are no new tricks up his sleeve and none are needed.

And he deceives us so craftily that we don’t even realize it. Like with Eve, he feeds us half truths, not blatant lies. He slowly leads us down a path we would have never taken at the start. And once down it we quickly forget where we were and where we were heading.

People who are lost in wickedness would never call themselves evil. The devil has slowly warped their minds with partial lies and manipulation, until they are brainwashed into believing good to be evil and evil to be good.

So it is with abortion, so it was with child sacrifice. The lines blur, black and white turns to gray, and the moral compass instilled into society through the Word of God, suddenly appears hostile and radical instead of freeing and righteous.

The protection of babies and mothers, the unique and vital roles of men and women, of the family unit all twisted and destroyed in the name of progression. As if this spiral downwards was actually going up, and mankind was becoming righteous by unbecoming it.

I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother.

Before all of this I was a child. I was a baby. I was a fetus. I was.

The devil hates God and His image bearers so much so that he will do anything to destroy us (since he failed to destroy God and His plans). He destroys us in many ways, knowing full well that simply killing us won’t do the trick since those who believe will return to God in Heaven.

No, he wants to rip us from God and condemn us to hell where he may torment us for all eternity.

How does he do this? Through attacking our identity, making us forget who we are and whose we are. That is why women hate the skin the were born with, the men who they are called to submit to, the children they were made to carry, the roles they were created for, their bodies—their actual gender! They are depressed, constantly searching for lasting joy and fulfillment, for purpose, and love that isn’t empty and twisted.

In this way they live yet are dead. They mock and blaspheme God by their rebellion and mutilation and sin. And the devil stomps on them with glee, making them low and sick and a banquet meal for demons.

“But what about the rape victims?” “What about this or that?” “What about the men?”

All these pointless questions and accusations over Roe v. Wade being overturned is making me ill.

What about the CHILDREN? It’s like watching a house burn and asking the home owners, did you save the phone charger? Hmm? Did you leave the curling iron on?

Let’s talk about these questions AFTER the unborn are protected! The less than 1% of pregnant rape victims, the responsibility of the fathers, the freak accidents or scenarios in which debates and discussions should be had can wait til after we stop the greatest genocide in all of history!

“Well I believe abortion is ok at conception” or “it’s ok at so and so a point or under these circumstances.”

No!

Evil begets more evil. Abortion began this way and now look at it. You can abort your full term baby! You can’t keep it at conception, it can’t be stopped this way. No compromises! You’re either for it entirely or against it entirely!

It’s time we take a stand! That we raise our voices over this issue for the sake of those who are voiceless and for the women as well! They are given misinformation, they are often treated like they don’t have a choice at Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion clinics that just want your money and your baby parts to sell! Fathers are also being stripped of their voice, it’s just as much their child. You want men to take responsibility? Allow them to have a voice in their children’s life!

This world is upside down and only we can right it again through revival and truth. And most importantly—love. A love that cares for everyone, every gender, every soul, regardless of where they are (born or unborn).

If we won’t stand for life, we stand for our own death.

Pray.

Volunteer at your local pro-life pregnancy center.

Sign up for March/Walk for Life. If there are no groups in your town doing this you can start your own.

Donate to pregnant mothers and offer them aid/counsel/support in any way you can. Pregnancy is hard (I know) but not impossible! Women need to believe in themselves and their strength again.

Support/follow activists and their organizations which offer other resources to these women and speak on our behalf on mainstream media and political boards.

Call out hypocrisy! Those who say they are brothers in Christ who are attacking the people and not the sin. This causes severe damage in reaching the lost and doesn’t save lives.

If I came across as harsh, please understand. I am zealous about this issue. If I died tomorrow I want my legacy to reflect that I cherish life and the life of innocent children most of all. I work as a Sunday school teacher and have a son myself. I see first hand the unique giftings each child brings to the world.

They are world changers.

Give them a world that can be saved.

❤️

Forsaken

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying…”my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”’

Why would the Father forsake His son?

This verse is listed twice in both Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 which only adds to its significance.

On the surface, we find that it is a reference to David’s Psalm 22. Here he is lamenting over his enemies mocking him and even dividing/casting lots for his clothing (sound familiar?).

The Jews who were there as Jesus cried out would have caught the reference and its meaning; our human dependency or desperation for God and the acknowledgment of that dependency. This inner longing for our Abba (father) to rescue us.

Of course there is a lot more that can be said about this scripture. But one thing stood out above the rest for me. And that is that Jesus knows what it means to be fully man.

He took on the full weight of our sin in that moment, and in doing so this cut him off from God (His source). In that moment, I believe the Holy Spirit within him grew quiet and Jesus felt what sin had severed; our relationship with God.

How far we have come from the Garden. That we no longer remembered what it was our soul craves. Walking with our Father in the cool of the day…complete and blameless before Him.

Jesus felt that separation for our sake. That he could destroy sin’s death grip on us, abridging the gap between mankind and God, and so that he could speak on our behalf. He became our intercessor, the one who knows what it’s like to be human, and to face our weaknesses.

He was killed as a criminal, the scapegoat for our sin, even though he had never sinned…

He faced hell (as in essence—the core attribute of hell is separation from God’s presence), and set the captives free.

Now, we may not be in the garden. But it exists within us. The Holy Spirit. The most misunderstood of the trinity, resides within us. And we don’t know exactly what that means or what to do with it. Jesus was our example of what a spirit-led life looks like.

“(Jesus speaking) Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” —John 16:7

I pray that this Easter, you would read the story or watch an accurate depiction of the story of Christ, His death, and resurrection. That you would rediscover what it means to carry His Spirit within us and to release it to move through us in the Earth.

For now, I leave you with this:

If you were the only one on Earth, Jesus would still have died for you. He was a conduit of the Father’s great love for us and there is nothing so great a sin that His love didn’t cover.

God bless you all.

Moving Forward

After an entire week of stomach bug, my son is finally acting more himself. Even still, he whines for sleep more than usual, and has been particularly grumpy and strong-willed toward literally everything I try to do throughout the day.

I keep declaring, “come on son, it’s time to move forward from this.” Because I know that once he moves, gets some fresh air, tries that first bite of food, gets a bath…that he will ultimately feel better for it.

Granted. It’s not easy to take those steps sometimes. Especially when we feel sick or worn down, or have gotten into a habit of dependency and a schedule of sleeping the day away,

Of course now, I’m speaking of us. My son is not the exception. He is human and therefore reflects our humanity.

We’ve all gotten into a rut before. Or have fallen into a pit and need to gather up the courage and motivation to claw our way out of it, knowing that God is beside us every step of the way.

Perhaps your rut is addiction, idleness, depression, or fear?

The world has been spinning at an alarming rate. Full of drama, exposed sins, historical moments that have a rippling effect on our lives and our futures that are, unknown, to some capacity. We watch the news thinking, “what’s next? Where do we go from here?”

Fear has frozen us. Depression has crippled our capacity to influence this reality, addictions have replaced God in our lives, sapping away the little time we have, idleness or laziness has set in and was even once praised during the pandemic. “Stay home, relax—you’re a hero for this!” The world smiled and saluted us. They promoted laziness and blind submissions which carry on to the present.

Well you know what? That was two years ago! The world is turning again, people are working, masks are off. Life must go on.

It’s time to move forward.

Remember the call God put on your life? Yeah, it’s still there. God didn’t take a vacation or break. He didn’t social distance Himself from you even as we pulled from Him.

If Covid taught us anything—it’s that we should take NOTHING for granted. Our loved ones and the time we share with them, our freedom of choice (which is crumbling in America), our privilege to protect those freedoms, our privilege to work and create with our hands, our gathering together, our voice, our skills and talents, our time, the privilege of helping others, of giving….

The list goes on….

God is doing a new thing, a shaking in the world to prune away the dead branches and rotten fruit. A revival is stirring and awakening the sleeper out of its tomb.

Only those who press in will get to see, taste, and hear what the Holy Spirit is doing in the unseen reality.

If you don’t want to miss this….move forward.

What does that look like?

For me, it looked like not missing church, or missing the meaning of church. We are all in this together as a family. I placed myself on an island in my depression and discovered that I never had to do that to myself. My church family was waiting to rush in and help. I had merely drew back the bridge.

It looks like opening your Bible again, blowing off the dust and just reading and then reflecting on what you read.

It looks like being still. Knowing that God is God and He is speaking. In the quiet moments looking up and saying, “your servant is listening.”

It looks like getting your butt out of bed and going outside. Making plans, working in the garden, painting or crafting, going for a drive….

It looks like inviting someone over.

It looks like journaling, blogging, and worshipping—giving praise amidst the storms and on the other side of them.

It looks like laughter and exercise, eating healthier, playing with your children. Turning off the TV or placing your cell phone on the table and not rushing to it every time it rings.

It’s taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. Enjoying the sweetness of life and the ones we get to share it with. Making memories, going and supporting local businesses and shaking hands with those you meet.

Hugging, kissing, loving, being….

That is what moving forward looks like. And I promise you that if you will take these small steps (whatever they look like), you too will find freedom and, well, feel better!

I smile as my son laughs, the warm sun awakening the sleeper within him, as he plays and learns. The lesson: life doesn’t find us—we must embrace it ourselves.

One step at a time. God has hidden things for us to find in the “moving forward.”

Will you seek it out? Will you take that first step? Will you live, truly live?

The Only Option

I once had a dream in which a tornado was barreling toward our home. I remember thinking—my only option is to speak against it (use my God-given authority paid for by His Son to make it disappear).

Our house isn’t particularly safe. Living in Ohio we hardly ever have tornadoes large enough to level homes. There was no place to run and hide, death was coming, and if I didn’t take a stand we would surely die.

There was a peace that filled me once I realized that my only option was to trust God. I mean either the tornado would have to obey or I would meet Jesus. Either way it was a happy ending and I knew I was acting exactly as I should be. I was who I should be.

I raised my hand and called out firmly (defiantly), “STOP!” And just as the tornado touched my yard line, it dissipated into mere mist.

A visiting speaker during our ministry school once said, “consider it a gift when you hit a point in which God is your only option.”

We are so bent on doing things ourselves, striving and strategizing our own efforts and plans. Even as we face our giants we fight and struggle before relenting to a higher power.

And we go father still when, broken and defeated, we blame God for our state of being and begin to doubt in His Goodness. When all along He was ready and willing to fight our battles for us.

Miracles tend to happen (like tornadoes disappearing) when we don’t allow ourselves to think or feel and we just simply give it all to God. When we recognize that without Him we don’t stand a chance and that He works (desires to!) through us!

In marriage, Aaron and I had formed an agreement, a vow that divorce would never be an option. But we never made those same vows to God! Vows to never let doubt be an option, or fear/worry. That we would have no other option but to trust Him….this new perspective has given me a lot to think about.

We value our marriage so much that we set these vows in order to protect it. How much more should we value and protect our relationship with God??

I believe now is the time in history in which we need more men and women of God who are all out of options. That we would finally break free and become who we were made to be when we’re backed into a corner and have no other way out. That God would move and shine bright in those moments. And that we would never doubt Him again.

If you feel you’re in that place, if you feel your out of options….give in to His. Activate the gifting and authority Christ paid for that you’ve let collect dust. Recognize the Holy Spirit within you groaning to burst forth, and surrender it all to God, win or lose…He has the final say and to Him be the Glory.

A Mighty Wind

Journal entry: July 7th, 2017

A storm is coming. As I write, I can hear the constant stream of thunder. I watch the dark blue clouds roll in from Upper Sandusky and feel the electric excitement and slight tinge of fear, even now.

This storm seems to be, so far, the worst looking this summer. Appearance is always more intimidating…but even the sparrow knows you hold tomorrow God. I’d add something else there—the sparrow knows you hold today, this moment and the next.

It’s almost too dark to write now. The clouds are almost overhead. The wind starts…strong gusts breaking every dying branch off of our oak trees and blowing away every bit of dead debris and discarded trash by the roadside.

I am reminded of the Holy Spirit. When people say He is like wind, I think the image they envision first is that of a gentle breeze on a hot summer day. The Holy Spirit is God in us—He is very much like the windy storm or even a whirlwind. He comes into our hearts and washes us. He blows away our trash and any obstacles between us and God.

He breaks off our dying branches with great and mighty gusts of His power. And yet, through it all, He shelters us in the palm of His hand. He comforts us and sets us back on our feet.

Praise be to God!

I pray that I will always meditate on God’s Word and revelations when I am afraid. The Lord is my refuge! The Word of God is like milk and honey. It sustains me, calms me, and reminds me of God’s everlasting love and goodness.

Thank you, God….for storms.

Conflicting Dreams

“The mark of humanity is in the looking up, the mark of the believer is in the looking in.”

The stars…

They make you dream of transformation, discovery, and mystery. A transcendence or release from the cages of what was and what is.

Humanity, since it’s beginning, has sought the stars. Charted, studied, and reached out in longing toward them, like so many bugs in a jar.

Star Trek and other science fiction works do well to capture our intrigue, sweeping us up in its progressive ideals and future outlook where mankind has fully matured as a species.

Matured or more specifically—“evolved” into something more. As if our existence and purpose were centered in our collective betterment. And as if we could ever hope to achieve such a feat by hard work and wits alone.

I’ve always loved Star Trek and the utopian future it painted, where humanity had overcome its evils and discovered new life amidst the sea of stars. But it’s merely a childhood fantasy to believe that we humans possess the ability to grow at all, apart from God. In other words, what we share in the outcome, we differ in the process.

While the rest of the world is looking up, we look within. While they are reaching and striving—we are kneeling. And therein the action lies the truth. As one seeks self transcendence the other acknowledges a power in which all transcendence flows.

The Tower of Babel is an interesting story of humanity striving for greatness apart from God. You see, we all want transcendence—but there is only one way to acquire it.

“I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me (Jesus).” —John 14:6

To most of the world, transcendence is through the mind. Mental control, knowledge (science), or meditations—which conjures up this image I’m sure.

For the atheist it is all knowledge. To the spiritualist it is all God. To the Christian it is one God who created all.

As I read one of my many Star Trek novels, I realize that they represent our modern day secular world and it’s socialistic progressive ideology to the T.

They look at the story of Adam and Eve differently. Not just in that it is symbolic to them (not real), but also in its purpose. Christians see dependency on God as the “good”, and Adam and Eve’s decision as the “evil” which led to exile from the physical garden and God’s presence.

This understanding is the foundation of why the rest of the Bible is important and vital. It is the story of our redemption that could not be won through our humanity, only through the Son of God.

When the humanist reads this story, they paint a different picture. Of mankind elevating itself by choosing independence from God and His “cage”. That the garden was like a nursery that we had outgrown as a species. And God?….that we had outgrown Him most of all.

This is important to note because first, it is the very lie the devil had whispered in Eve’s ear.

“(The devil speaking)…For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” —Genesis 3:5

Second, it is a misconception of what freedom is. Progressives believe that things like morality and the law (whether Biblical or literal), are binding. As if they enslave us, when truthfully it is the lack thereof that binds us with many chains.

The devil cared not about Eve. He wasn’t handing her a gift but a curse!

Sin is enslavement just as the flesh, if undisciplined and loosed, is enslaving. It tells us what to do and rules our very existence. And sin is never satisfied until it has consumed its captives onto death.

In the garden we were free of the weight of sin and death and had authority and power that was stolen when we were cast out. We were made to rule the garden and expand it, to co-labor with God in vanquishing the evil on the Earth. That job is ours again, one that can only be accomplished if done together with God.

He is not a dictator, or some long bearded angry entity in the heavens, unconcerned by our souls. He is love—love that came down and became one of us for the sake of oneness.

We exist therefore to love and be loved. We aren’t slaves but servants, we aren’t chained but free, and we aren’t animals evolved but children adopted and grafted into God’s family.

And so, I’ll leave the stargazing to the dreamers. Instead I will look within myself, pursue God and Godly matters—and turn dreams into reality.

There is hope for humanity still…and it rests not in our limited abilities but in His unlimited love.

Maybe it’s time we stop looking up…and start looking in. So that we can then look out at the world that matters most in this sea of stars and do some real good through the lens of Christ.

Floating Fish

Lately, it seems like everyone is being attacked. The world and, more specifically, the church is being shaken down to its core, it’s foundation. People are being forced into taking a side and standing firm in their decisions. Evil is rampant and no longer concealed within the confines of the shadows.

The deepest, darkest fears, sins, spiritual failings, and doubts are floating to the surface.

Quite honestly, I’m tired of the endless trials that I’m being bombarded with from within and without. When will the shaking cease and the dust finally settle? What will happen next before it does?

As I’m typing this, I can see my dying fish floating to the top of its tank after I painstakingly tried to save it from ick only a few days ago. Sadly, a few other fish are also acting odd and I don’t know what or if I can do anything. (This is after I finally was able to finish my tank—after several weeks of waiting on guppies to hit the market again).

This feeling hits me so often these days you would think I’d be numb to it by now. But no, you’d best believe I will do what I can to salvage and protect, even if it’s in vain.

Will I see the fruits of my own efforts? Probably not. I haven’t exactly “done” life with God lately at the helm. I feel often like someone has unplugged me from the source…that “someone” is me of course, but I can’t seem to find the outlet again in the darkness.

I’ve had to choose God—quite possibly for the first time, without the “feeling” driving it. I’ve always wanted God in my life, always loved Jesus, always wanted to please Him more than anything or anyone else.

I know I still want those things, but life has hit us so hard that I’m just kind of numb to those wants right now. I set expectations on God that I shouldn’t have set (just like in marriage sometimes). I’ve doubted God for the first time, not His existence, but His Character…His willingness. An equally idiotic notion on my part, I know, but here we are.

It’s like I’m lost on the battlefield, shooting and running, unable to clearly see my Commander in the chaos. And man is it chaos!

Between the pandemic, the evil political agendas surrounding it, our presidential failure, the ensuing bloodbath in our country and in the world (some are still in the making), the constant lies and fear-mongering media, the stirring of hatred between races/genders/religions/classes/and parties, the death and depression hanging on everyone, and our own personal battles in the midst of it (being a new mother to a willful boy, health issues, relationship and financial struggles)…..

….yeah, I’m pretty spent. And feeling a lot like my floating fish, gasping for air.

I’m constantly chasing that breath of relief in between the chaos. Surviving but not exactly thriving….is this where the devil wants me? Does he think that if he keeps knocking my legs out from under me that I’ll never really stand up?

Aaron and I have made two conscious decisions amidst our shared feelings. One is that we would be more social at our church. Like make an effort to get to know others and be friends, join groups, etc.

For the past several years we’ve typically remained close to only a handful of people and haven’t exactly went out of our way to invite people over or anything. It’s been difficult for us as introverts to really branch out more. But now we see that we were just being selfish and really robbing ourselves and others of so much more.

In other words, now more than ever—-we all need each other. The church “body” must be a body again. We experience the love of God and meet our needs for connection only through each other.

This is huge for me considering that the reason I felt unloved by God was because I was denying His love that could’ve been mine if I had only reached out to my church family. They are a conduit in which His love reaches us!

Depression is really a demonic hold in that it tries to pull you away from what could heal you; friends and family.

Second, was that we had to make a decision. We had to count the costs of that decision or lack thereof. And that is, “will we continue believing what we believe despite what we see or feel?”

For once in my life, I choose God unconditionally, and to believe He is Good apart from what my eyes have seen, apart from what I feel, and apart from what I have yet to believe. Or perhaps, I do believe but it is without faith.

Nevertheless, I openly stand on what I know to be right, not easy. I see now that the Christian walk is not easy, that it paints a target on your back for every kind of spiritual attack…but I didn’t choose this path because it was easy, only because it was right.

God is God. I am not. This world is broken and evil. I must stand apart from it. I am not here to live for happiness. But to serve and grow and overcome. I do not live for myself but for others. I refuse to live this life for myself because it will only end in destruction and an eternal death. I seek eternal life.

I live for love. I stand for love. And maybe, someday I’ll die for love.

Maybe…it isn’t that everything is chaotic but finally clear. Maybe this is what it’s like when the dust has actually settled and we see things for what they are. The good and the bad and even the floating fish in our spiritual tanks.

What side will you choose to stand on? Come hell or high water, what do you believe?

“Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Note: Even when I am not.

A Legacy of Love

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
—Martin Luther King Jr.

This picture always gets me. The way he pulls out that once burning cross which had become a symbol of racial hatred. He doesn’t react with outrage, or even with sorrow. He doesn’t tell his son to stay indoors but allows him to come out and watch. He removes it gently from his yard, and you can almost feel that he had already forgiven those who committed the crime.

He practiced forgiveness just as Christ did when he died on that same symbolic cross. And like Christ, Martin lived a life of love and selflessness as His disciple.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Godly man. He was a pastor who sought equality, fought against the grain of governmental control, moral relativism, and communism, and did so through the blueprint of Biblical teaching.

Quite honestly, if he saw our America today he would probably weep. Racism is being stirred up by the media to use as a catalyst to acquire more control over its people both black and white!

African Americans are being treated as victims much in the way we later treated the native Americans. Giving them a welfare state of existence—-hardly equality and completely demoralizing! And white Americans (a mixing pot of many nationalities), are being taught that they are inherently evil and incurably racist, which is in turn a bigoted racial belief.

And who is behind this push for hate, distrust, and fear amidst races, religions, and parties?

The political figureheads of our country. Namely the democratic/“woke” extremists who have an agenda for power and wealth.

“For the love of money is the root of ALL evil.”—1 Timothy 6:10

Even on Martin Luther’s day of remembrance, agendas were promoted (as you may clearly see through Biden’s speech) and secretly intertwined throughout the fabric of our country and its spheres of influence: such as media, education, and entertainment.

They claim to want what Martin Luther wanted, however they are mere wolves in sheep’s clothing, standing against what Martin believed and fought for!

They may not erase him as they did many other historical figures because of his color. However, they will do him far worse by erasing who he was….his very legacy of love.

Here are some of his many great quotes:

“Our lives begin to end the moment we become silent about the things that matter.”

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.”

“We must learn to live as brothers or we will perish together as fools.”

“You are not makers of history, you are made by history.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

“To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it.”

“It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.”

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

….the list goes on. Martin was not afraid of the truth, not afraid to stand up for it at great personal risk, or even at risk to his family. He trusted in God and knew that he was merely a vessel to be used by Him to bring about a better tomorrow.

He would’ve stood firm in that truth even today as he was quite accustomed to persecution from every side. Including his own community at times…

And so, let’s truly honor him by living our lives as he lived his. With unshakable faith and love.

God bless you all, my brothers and sisters of Christ, who come from many different lands, speak in different tongues, and all reflect the very image of God.