Category Archives: Teens

Don’t Give Up On What You Know God Has Called You To Do

My writing ministry had me growing weary. I’ve been working on this YA fantasy novel for around four years now, and I just want it to be published already.

I was planning on self-publishing via eBook and raising the funds through Indie Gogo. However, after a sister in Christ challenged me—”Did God tell you to self-publish at this exact time”—I prayed. I sought more counsel and realized I should keep trying to get traditionally published.

At first I was discouraged. I cried, just wanting this book off my hands already, but then I prayed and began to worship. Within no more than ten minutes, God had encouraged me, and I was fine. Mind you, when I worshiped, I wasn’t, “feeling it.” I was still hurt, but I denied myself, denied my emotions, and chose to praise and thank God despite; out of obedience to His Word which commands us to give thanks in all circumstances.

When you repent—change your mind and agree with God—despite your circumstances and feelings, the Holy Spirit does a work in you and causes you to walk like His Son. I didn’t change my attitude, God through the Holy Spirit did, for the Word tells us, “It is God who works in you both to will and do for His good pleasure.”

When we choose to give God thanks, even when we don’t feel like it, our focus shifts from our problems to our problem solver, and He changes us by His grace.

This morning, I happened to read this:

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭6‬:‭10-12‬ NKJV)

Yet again, our great Savior encouraged me. I won’t give up on this book. I’ve dedicated it to Him for His glory and purposes. I believe He will use it.

Don’t give up either. Whatever you commit to the Lord for His good usage is not a labor of vanity. As long as you work diligently and as excellently as you can, knowing you’re serving the Lord, He will bless and use your efforts far beyond what you can ask, think, or imagine.

Keep fighting on. Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, and in Christ we are more than conquerors.

Grace to you,

Natasha


I’m a Christian, But I Don’t Want You To Know I’m Struggling

Sometimes, most times—often times—our fear of being vulnerable is rooted in pride or the fear of man. Both are a snare.

But as Christians, that’s one of our crosses to bear, something we are commanded to do: be transparent. And here’s the irony of it all: it’s only after we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to be real, that healing and deliverance comes.

Some of us are tangled up in chains. We hide our shackles beneath long-sleeved coats and pants, blind to the fact that when we gather with our brothers and sisters in Christ, there’s keys in the midst, keys that are just waiting to set us free.

It is for our benefit that God commands us to be honest with our struggles.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (‭James‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬)

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭1-2‬)

We all are going through some trial or struggle and could really use prayer support. This transparency among each other promotes love and true edification. It also leads to a deeper understanding of God’s love and power because as James says, confession coupled with prayer brings healing. But if you can’t be real with one another, you’ll stay stuck in whatever it is Christ died to liberate you from. On the outside you’ll put on a smile, while on the inside you’re dying.

You don’t need to die! You don’t need to put on a show. Most discerning Christians can see through that anyway, and you will never fool Christ. He sees your brokenness and greatly desires to heal it, but it must be on His terms: vulnerability, transparency. Christ died so you can be made alive. What a shame, what a waste to throw that gift away, to reject it for vanity’s sake because you want to protect your ego.

Christianity is a brutally honest walk. There’s no room for fakers. And if you keep it up long enough, out of love and a desire for you to be healed, Christ will eventually expose you. If you don’t want to fess up, God will display what you’ve been hiding in darkness.

“No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. (‭Luke‬ ‭8‬:‭16-17‬)

Confess to your brethren now before things get worse for you. The only thing you’ll regret is not having done so sooner.

Grace to you,

Natasha


We The Millennials, Pledge Allegiance To Master Internet

The “net is takin” over all right—taking over millenials.

The older folks, those from the era before computers, typically don’t care much for the A.I. Mother Ship.

Sure, there’s some baby boomers, Generation Y-ers utilizing social media for business and marketing purposes, but the ones who are becoming consumed by the world-wide web, are us millenials.

Those of us being born/raised in the age of technology or “knowledge” aren’t just using the internet for business; many of us are using it to connect, to be noticed, to feel accepted.

We cling to our iPhones like parasites. Though our intellect tells us texting and driving = extreme danger, we just have to get our social-media fix.

Did they like my default pic? Who commented on my post? How many views do I have?

The internet has a way of temporarily satiating our deep need to feel loved.

The more followers and friends we have, the more loved we feel. And O, if we could only get famous for something we toss into the web, then we’ll really feel loved and fulfilled.

As a fellow human being, I’ve been there. I’ve checked blog stats and glanced at twitter numbers. I’ve taken time to tweak my photos to ensure I look the best I possibly can.

Honestly, if I did not know how insanely loved I was by God, as displayed through the death of His only Son on that rugged cross, the internet surely would have taken me over.

But because I know who I am—a dearly loved daughter of the Creator of the Universe, who has plans for me that are good and pleasing and perfect—the internet doesn’t consume me.

I don’t need a hundred likes, or even one for that matter, to feel loved or accepted. Jesus took me at my worst and His love has consumed me.

So whether I become a best-selling author or not, if the internet melts down and there’s no more blogging or Twitter, I’ll be fine.

My prayer is that my fellow millennials will come to that place of freedom, freedom from stats and likes, friends and followers, and allow True Love to take them over. That they would come to know it doesn’t matter how famous they are online, but what matters is their soul. That if and when the internet no longer exists, their world won’t be over. That Jesus is the one and only person that consumes them.

I’ve thrown in the towel on letting myself use the internet to fulfill what it utterly can’t, and hopefully you do as well.


Jesus Is Supposed To Transform You

“Abstain from every form of evil.” (I Thessalonians 5:22 NKJV)

When I looked up the original word for “form,” I discovered it included the outward appearance of something. This verse isn’t just speaking about avoiding being involved with evil, but even just the appearance of evil; if it can look like you’re doing evil.

I would say that’s a pretty high standard, wouldn’t you? But if you are familiar with Scripture, you’d know there’s an emphasis on “walking worthy of the Lord,” and being “blameless.” Another verse says we are Christ’s representatives. That’s a big deal, a huge deal.

Jesus was morally perfect, completely blameless in all of His conduct. To represent that can seem impossible to many people, and it is—if you don’t have the Holy Spirit.

Christ came to utterly transform us, but, there is one major obstacle to the process of complete transformation: self.

Jesus told His audience that whoever wanted to follow Him needed to pick up his cross, deny himself, and follow Him. There is a prerequisite before a person can be transformed by Christ’s indwelling Holy Spirit: surrender. And I’m not talking partial surrender or lip-service, but true-blue, Jesus have it all, I’m done with my sins, my ideas, my desires, and I’m going to let You be my Master surrender.

I think there’s a few kinds of people. There are those who are interested in what Christ has to offer. Maybe they hear a sermon, or a friend tells them about Jesus, and they like the sound of forgiveness, grace, love, purpose, and escape from hell. But they are not aware of the depth of Christ’s love for them, and His perfect goodness, so they doubt if the Christian life is really all that satisfying, or they believe Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one can get to the Father except through Him, but they’re afraid of the unknown. Both have the solution to their problem in truly grasping that God is not a mean dictator, but rather a loving Father. And like loving earthly fathers discipline their children for their benefit, God even more so disciplines out of complete knowledge and understanding of what is absolutely best for you. Once this truth is grasped, it is easier to surrender.

But then there are those who truly just want fire-insurance. They believe in hell and don’t want to live there for eternity, so they confess Christ as Savior and Lord, but they never surrender. They maybe start a religious routine of attending church and going to a bible study, but they continue sinning and doing what they want to do. Tragically, Jesus says of these kinds of people:

Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭22-27‬ NKJV)

Jesus didn’t come just to save people from hell, He came to save them from being bound by hell. He defeated sin by the power of the Holy Spirit, and expects those who follow Him in surrender to do the same, not relying on their strength, but on His.

There’s loads of Scriptures on us being holy and different from those who do not know God, primarily how we love Him and one another. But love doesn’t harm, it isn’t selfish, it isn’t lustful or envious or prideful. Love keeps its clothes on and hands off until marriage. Love respects and does not belittle. Love doesn’t lie. Love doesn’t steal, it gives. Love isn’t out of control.

I feel for my generation because there’s so much blasphemy in “churches” today; people getting drunk, having premarital sex, dressing immodestly, cussing, lying, gossiping. These are not fruits of the Holy Spirit, but of the flesh, and it all leads to death. There’s these buildings with pastors who use Jesus’ name and some of the bible and then call themselves His church, when really, their heart isn’t surrendered. They treat His grace as something common and abuse it by continuing to sin and leading their congregation to sin. They talk about reaching the world, but they are still of it! They cannot save souls, but only draw them to themselves. They aren’t bringing people to Christ, they’re bringing them to themselves. It seems the majority of church-goers act like, look like, and talk like those who don’t know Jesus. They don’t realize that there is supposed to be a genuine life transformation; mind, heart, and soul, from the inside out we are truly new. Therefore, they not only miss out on genuine communion with God, but they also are on the wide path of destruction, rather than on the path to life.

The bible speaks of a “great falling away” of the church, and I believe this is the time it speaks of. More and more pastors are rising up, twisting or denying scripture, accepting sin and rejecting the power of Christ to really transform lives. Many are being led to hell and don’t even know it. Then, when someone confronts these pastors or the sin in their congregations, they are called judgmental and shooed out or silenced. The bible says those who do this have their just judgment coming.

But I know God is good. He seeks the heart that is truly hungry for Him, the person who is sick of following their own way and really wants to know Him. These He delivers, He “exalts the humble and gives them grace, but resists the proud.” Jesus visits these people and they surrender and become transformed. And that’s my prayer for you: that just like He visited me on February 22nd, 2009 and began radically transforming my life, that the same would happen for you. That you would come to know the depth and height and length and width of Christ’s love for you, and discover His good, pleasing, perfect and acceptable plans for your life. That by His power, you will be healed and through His Holy Spirit, be able to defeat the sin in your life. Then you too can be able to share Him with others and partner with Him in truly saving souls, storing up great rewards in heaven. But the best reward will be experiencing God here on earth, really experiencing Him; His love, His joy, His power, His grace, His leading, His favor.

If you’ll only surrender.


Why We Need To Run From The New, Hip, Celebrity Church Culture

When your pastor is so “passionate” about serving and outreach, and your church always has these events, but your pastor is nowhere to be found …

Jesus said:

And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.” (Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭25-27‬ NKJV)

How many pastors are right there with you, serving? Why have we allowed men to be exalted to a place of worldly celebrity to where all they do is stand at the pulpit once or twice a week, but never serve alongside us?

Many pastors seem to have time to visit other church buildings and conferences where they stand up and speak, but they don’t have time to join their church when they feed the homeless or hand out bibles to urban neighborhoods.

The whole picture of what Christ taught and how our leaders are supposed to be has been flipped. We mimic the world system, propping men up on a stage whom we find attractive and entertaining and watch them speak, but never ask why they don’t serve the people as Christ commanded.

He said the greatest shall be the least and as he who serves, but sadly, many church leaders (especially in my generation) are exalted to a place of celebrity where they show up and look good, but don’t sweat and get dirty doing practical acts of service for the community they claim to love so much.

What’s happened to Christ’s standard? So much of what He taught and how He was while on this earth has been chucked to the side and reinvented.

Cool, sleek, politically-correct, tolerant, shallow, materialistic; Christ was none of these things. Yet we have helped men get to the top who are all of things and sometimes worse.

And then the whole church culture starts imitating these men; dressing, talking, and acting like them, and their faith is shallow and more like a religious routine rather than a powerful, life-transforming relationship with God through His Son that causes us to look and act radically different from who we once were.

Many haven’t radically changed because they likely haven’t truly engaged and pursued the Messiah.

Paul was a blaspheming, Christ-hating, violent man who ended up dying and suffering for Christ and loving the saints so ardently, he’d travel all around the world to visit them, to bring them money, to encourage them and pray for them.

Christ doesn’t just clean up some outward things and that’s all. He does a complete renovation of the heart. You are utterly transformed.

You may lose friends and the support of your family.

People won’t like you. In fact, some will truly hate you.

But you’ll love them anyway and praise God you were counted worthy to suffer persecution for His sake, knowing He promised those who are treated badly for their faith have His glory resting upon them.

You care for those you didn’t care about before.

You are passionate about preaching the gospel because you know people are going to hell for their unrepentant sins and only Christ can save them from that place by His sacrifice and resurrection from the dead.

You desperately want people to know Him because He’s amazing and will heal them like He healed you.

Everything that used to be first in your life; your career, money, relationships, none of that matters. That’s all after Christ now.

But if you haven’t been transformed, how can the power of Christ live in you?

He doesn’t tweak things about your life, He does an entire surgery.

If you love what the world loves: fashion, cars, tattoos, celebrity gossip, sexual immorality, man’s approval, how can the love of the father be in you?

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”-1 John 2:15

I pray you step away from the religious, unfruitful, powerless celebrity culture that has pervaded the church and truly seek Christ with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.


Why “Once Saved Always Saved” Is A Lie

Some believe the Apostle Paul was a sinner because of these verses in Romans (taken out of context):

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” (Romans 7:18, 19)

But when you read the passage in context you see that Paul was speaking in past tense:

“For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:5-25)

And him confessing to be a helpless sinner at the end of Romans 7 would be a total contradiction to what he previously wrote in chapter 6:

“For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him, because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over Him. For in light of the fact that He died, He died to sin once for all; but in light of the fact that He lives, He lives to God. So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:15-18)

And a few verses later in chapter 6 he continues:

“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22, 23)

So what does all this mean?

We must, as Jesus Himself said, abide in Jesus if we are to receive eternal life.

So what does abiding in Christ look like? Jesus explained it rather simply:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:1-8)

Abiding in Christ means you stay with Him, you continue reading and obeying His Word. Just as the eleven disciples abided in Jesus, following Him those three years, and then continued following until their death, so we must abide in Christ.

It is an unbiblical lie to believe mere confession in Christ is enough to save you. “Once saved always saved,” though it sounds nice, is not a biblical doctrine.

Jesus was clear: the branches in Him that don’t bear fruit, meaning those who confess Him as Savior and Lord, but continue sinning and not bearing the fruits of holiness, will be taken away, cast out and withered, and thrown into the eternal fire. Genuine disciples of Jesus “bear much fruit,” meaning, they become more and more sanctified and thus, holy. They aren’t worldly and fleshly, partly following Jesus in some ways, like not partying or getting drunk, but then they disobeying Him in other ways like sexual impurity and lying.

Hence the importance of knowing all Scripture, knowing the whole New Testament, not just bits of it or whatever you hear your pastor teach on Sundays.

Scripture confirms Scripture:

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” (Philippians 2:12-16)

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (I Peter 1:13-19)

“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31)

I pray we get into the Word and really learn our Bibles, for many perish because of a lack of knowledge, as Hosea affirms.

Much love to you,

Natasha


A Divine Appointment With A 72-year-old Woman

Blown away by God’s love and pursuit of a 72-year-old woman.

Just had a Jesus and the woman at the well experience; how Jesus made sure He passed through Samaria so He could reach that one woman, who in turn, told her whole town about Him, and many were saved.

My experience with this 72-year-old woman also reminded me of the parable Jesus taught about how the shepherd leaves the 99 in search of the one. I played back everything that brought me to that room where she and I were alone, and was so touched by God’s love and pursuit of her.

I needed an oil change for a long time, and kinda forgot about it until hubby reminded me this morning. So, after I dropped him off at work, I drove to Roberto’s shop. He was too busy so I went for option two: a Jewish mechanic in another city a good 25 minutes away, but then remembered it’s the Sabbath so he’s closed.

As I’m driving, I look to the left and see a shop I’ve never-ever seen before, “Mac Auto,” across the street from Roberto’s. It didn’t look half as packed as his so I give my dad a holler, and he says to go for it, that’ll it likely be around $30 to $35 bucks.

I go, and it’s actually $15 and change! The guy, Pablo, said I didn’t need the more expensive ones for my ’03 Toyota (I know, a mechanic who didn’t try to up-sale me. So the Lord!).

Anyhow, Pablo says it’ll be an hour-and-a-half wait. So I give my sister a ring, who lives nearby, and ask if she can scoop me up. She says sure, that she’ll come after prayer.

So Pablo points out the waiting room, and in I go. Seconds after, a woman comes in. As I read my Bible on my phone, we sit in silence. I don’t have that compelling prodding of the Holy Spirit to speak to her, so I pray a prayer in my mind, asking something I usually ask, but also for something I never ask; something like this:

Lord, if you desire me to minister to her, open the door of conversation, give me the words, but let me grow a love for her.

See, since I didn’t get that prodding, I wanted to tell her whatever Christ wanted me to tell her and that it would be from love, not obligation. If I had opened my mouth right then and there, it would have been from obligation to preach the gospel, a duty, rather than a service of love.

So after about ten minutes of silence, Pablo comes and closes the door, which causes the woman to ask, “Why did he shut the door?”

I, knowing God is up to something, go with it. “Well, there is A/C in here.” I stood and turned down the wall-unit. “Thank God it’s not as hot out today.”

“Well the heat is better than up North. I couldn’t take it up there.”

We begin talking about where she’s from and then something amazing happens: she tells me things that cause compassion to instantly rise in my heart. She continues, and more compassion floods in. She is from the Rosa Parks era. She said she was worse than Rosa Parks, and never sat on the back of the bus. She mentioned a few more things that just caused me to grow a love for her—the love Christ has for her.

And so my opportunity came. I told her about the Holy Spirit, a little about how He changed me, the necessity of Christian fellowship, of Christian family (she had been raised in the church, and enjoyed a very close fellowship of sacrificial love and what she called a “melting pot” of believers in her old neighborhood). But after moving here, she went to the church buildings and experienced a lot of politics and emotional abuse from false prophets and money-hungry goons.

Interestingly enough, hubby and I no longer attend a service at a building, but just gather at a home where there’s food, prayer, worship, study, fellowship and accountability. We are like a family. I was able to share this with her and she even allowed me to pray over her. From all that she’s been through, and the way she reacted to a rowdy customer, I knew she was a tough woman. But after the prayer, she had tears in her eyes, and I saw a softening in her heart.

And this is the God I serve. Jesus Christ is exactly who He said He is: the Good Shepherd who came to seek and to save the lost, to heal the sick, and to set the captive free. She needed emotional healing, and I believe this may have been the start of that process.

To think, she is 72-years-old, no longer in deep community with the church, and here Jesus pursues her and reminds her of His love for her, the importance of Christian fellowship, and who knows what else. But He didn’t look at her age and go, “Eh, there’s younger folks out there who have more time. I’ll focus on them.” He doesn’t discriminate based on outward appearance. He searches the heart, and draws all people to Himself. Not all will come when they hear Him call, but some will, and even if it’s just one, He will make time for that precious soul.

This is me, mind-blown at Christ’s love for a 72-year-old woman.


Reapers Book Trailer Hubby And I Made

So hubby and I offered to make a book trailer for the awesome, Bryan Davis, or as I like to call him, Obi-Wan Brynobi.

He just came out with a new novel entitled Reapers. Devoured this fascinating story in less than a week. Don’t let the name fool you, these Reapers aren’t anything you’d expect, but I’ll let the trailer speaker for itself. My hubby, aka Sir Jonathan not only directed this, but he also played the main character. It was a pleasure to both serve our brother in Christ, and team up for the advancement of God’s kingdom! Enjoy! Reapers Book Trailer

What are your thoughts? Is this a book you’d be interested in reading? Feel free to let me know in a comment.


Is My Calling Distracting Me From The Call?

*When I speak of our “calling” in this post, I’m speaking about our career or artistic talents.*

Could it be that we’re so concerned with our “calling” that we’re actually distracted from doing God’s will? Isn’t our “callings” just a part of God’s will, but in no way the whole? Isn’t God’s will made plain in the Scriptures? If we abide in and obey His Word, won’t He direct our paths?
Aren’t we commanded not to worry, but instead to pray? Aren’t we taught not to fret, but to simply trust God?
I think sometimes we overthink being a disciple of Christ. Instead of just loving Him and others, enjoying Him and enjoying the fellowship of our brothers in the Light, we get in control-mode and stress over what our calling is. But we shouldn’t let our calling distract us from doing God’s will.

May we be at peace with the fact that in Christ we are significant, that it isn’t our calling that makes us significant. Nor let us think that in order to accomplish God’s will and advance the kingdom we must be walking in our calling. Sometimes it takes years—decades—to begin to walk in your calling. Are you going to just wait for that season and neglect all those God has placed around you to love and disciple?

What matters to God is the fruit we produce. We can work extra hard on perfecting our gifts that tie into our calling, and saving money or studying and planning ahead for that calling, but that doesn’t produce much fruit in the meantime does it?

Me sitting alone at my computer for hours typing my book will produce fruit later, but it very well may get published five years from now, and all the hours I invested in it everyday could have been cut considerably so I can instead love, encourage, and pray for my husband and those around me, or invest in calling a sister and building up her faith. All of our work will be tested by fire in the end, and if what we’ve built turns to ashes, God’s not going to be very pleased.

I want to make sure my husband and those I disciple enter the new city’s pearly gates and receive imperishable crowns.

I’m not saying you become lazy and don’t work on cultivating the spirit of excellence, but I think time is scarce so we must be as shrewd as serpents with what little of it we have.

I don’t want God to play back the reel of my life and then I see thousands of times I was working diligently on my books, but my husband or mother or sister was enduring spiritual attacks alone and greatly needing backup. That will be humiliating and disheartening and I’m certain I’ve already done this plenty of times before.

May we be alert in prayer as the Scriptures command, rather than too busy crafting our gifts.

This I know, we’re all called to make disciples, and we don’t need to write books, lead worship, make films, or be rich to do it. We just need to love those around us.

Agreed?


I’m A Parent Who Encourages My 13-Year-Old To Have Sex

Parents are naive, or in denial.

To allow your thirteen-year-old to listen to sexually promiscuous music, have a boyfriend or girlfriend, permit them to go to their house, video chat with he or she in the bedroom with the door closed, and have a lock on their iPhone is in my opinion, highly encouraging sexual activity.

How can you expect your child to abstain from sex if you don’t do your job as a parent by teaching and protecting them?

Is responding to the issue with, “They’re going to do whatever they want,” really good parenting? Are not children to obey? And if they don’t, could it be possible that you have trained them to get what they want by not disciplining them thoroughly and setting boundaries?

I’m not a parent, but I have taught, taken care of, babysat, and mentored young people for a total of eight years. Though I have yet to have children, I listen to father and doctor, Bob Barnes of Sheridan House ministries on Parenting Today weekdays at 2:45pm to 3pm via ReachFm, and more parenting talks on Family Life Today and other Christian programs, and have observed the parenting of those with highly obedient and well-behaved children. I only share with you what I’ve learned from them and what I know to be true about many teens since I was there and still mentor them today.

I get emails from tempted fourteen-year-old girls. When they’re that young and in a relationship, I always encourage them to stay single and focus on their relationship with Jesus. I tell them not to consider dating (I actually teach on courting), until they’re of age or maturity to begin considering marriage. To be in a relationship before this time is to tempt oneself into sexual immorality. Hormones are blazing and it only takes some affection from your child’s crush to release the flood waters.

So I write this out of love and concern. I hear the tragedies of teen pregnancy and abortion. I know of the STD epidemic. I’m sure you parents do as well.

Please set up boundaries and restrictions for your child until they’re out of your house and on their own. The culture we live in is saturated with sex. Practically every song on secular radio is about dating and having sex. Nearly every PG-13 and R-rated movie have sexually suggestive material, and the magazines your child is confronted with in the grocery checkout isle shout for your daughter to be a sex-guru. Have you read some of the titles? I flip over those magazines and others that have half-naked women on them. But this is the day your child lives in. Sex-messages are everywhere, and that is why you have to be all the more diligent in protecting them.

Do you really want media teaching your children what sex is and when it should be experienced? Public schools are actually having a field-day teaching your children about all the ways they can be sexually active and then passing out condoms like candies.

Please guard over your precious children. They just want someone to look up to, but if you’re too busy or too tired from work to invest time in teaching your children, they will reap what you’ve sown.