Victims of Depression Suddenly Started Winning! /Random Thoughts

I saw a retweet on Twitter one day, months ago – and it still haunts me – from a tweeter I wouldn’t recommend following, a more-than-slightly disturbing thought. I quote Bucky Isotope (@BuckyIsotope),

“Over there sits your childhood stuffed animal slowly losing atoms to chaos. Piece by piece he says goodbye. Piece by piece you join him.”

No idea whether he meant his words as a joke or truth, but either way, the concept is horrifying to my mortal mind, who’s sitting here without answers for common questions we all have from time to time…

“Why am I here on this earth?”

“What happens after death?”

“Will I die young or old, and… does it matter because either way I still die.”

In addition, to quote someone else, Hector Berlioz said,

“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its students.”

Supposed to be funny, yet for people prone to depression, they’re weird and depressing thoughts! In fact, time itself is ultimately depressing and to be honest, I personally don’t know how anyone stays sane when their naturalistic, mortal life is the focus, and not the spiritual, immortal life.

Here, I want to tell you something good: you see, if you change your depth of field (like the way you do in the lens of a camera) and get with Christ, you can be unafraid of all this. Time. Death. Separation anxiety. All this kinda stuff. Nothing about the scientific definition of decay and decomposition, or anything else, has to be depressing anymore! Because there is a verse in the Bible, one singular quote that can fit in a tweet if you get the right version, which I can bet was made to combat that very thought Bucky’s tweet made me (and maybe you, too) think.

“The world is passing away. And everything that people want in the world is passing away. But the person who does what God wants lives forever.” 1 John 2:17 (ICB)

I don’t know if I can get this point across enthusiastically enough, so let me just get it straight to you: the world may be losing atoms to chaos, and our stuffed animals and all of life’s stuff may be saying goodbye with our bodies and desires, but if we do what God wants, we will live beyond the world’s chaos. Sure, the chaos may be slowly sucking our particles into a vortex of ruin, but there is an immortal presence we have, a forever existence, known as our souls, which can follow Jesus Christ into eternity.

…And that’s the moment when I’m like, all victims of depression everywhere suddenly started winning!

Because like, if you’ve got Christ, you can say when you hear dry comments and jokes that turn into depressing thoughts for you later,

“Who cares! I’m beyond that.”

No matter what the problem is, whether it’s about dying, or lying, or bodily pain, or sickness, or bullies and hate speech, or climate change, or college, or breakups, or whatever! You can say, “I don’t care” and mean it! That stuff can roll of your back like it’s no big deal!

I’m not talking about not caring to the point where you don’t work your hardest to live, laugh, and love. What I’m talking about and who I am talking to is victims of depression where like, you care too much, or the questions circulate in your head all day, or some tweet makes you crazy because of who-knows-what-reason, just, it does. Because.

Jesus is the greatest cure for depression we’ll ever find, the best pick-me-up if you’re down and out, or whatever you want to call it – point blank he’s freedom. He makes you free. He loves you and he will overcome for you.

So… the world can have its problems. Meanwhile, we can have Jesus… you with me?

“…Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” -Jesus (John 14:27, The Message)

The Bridge

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Prayer Petition: Don’t Destroy History, God

“So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” Ezra 8:23

After spending weeks and weeks on the Christian book study, “Girls With Swords”, I found myself missing the multimedia experience Prayer Petitions have to offer. Although it was good to challenge myself to get in front of the camera and chat about my worst and best moments of reading a book, especially since I desire to be an author, there’s something to miss about the relevancy of a Prayer Petition. The people of the world are so in need of prayer, and so desiring to be lifted up in community, and joined together through the struggles being faced, and that is what these videos I (and Kat) make offer. That is why my ministry of video-making is so important right now; I feel it can be a hope and a light to those truly suffering.

This week’s Prayer Petition is a request to unite in prayer for history. History comes in all forms of media – vinyl records, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, slides, and vintage photos to name a few – which are all destroyed by fire. Lately, as we can see in the news, it seems God has chosen to allow fires to destruct buildings and forests and other terrain. We should pray about it, because God has told us our prayers matter (James 5:13, Psalm 102:17).

Girls With Swords, Final Week

This week, we’re discussing Chapter 9, Sword of Harvest, of Girls With Swords.  The contents of the pages honestly alarmed me: author Bevere compared Christianity, and the Word of God, to a machete, which is a sword known to be versatile and effective, yet easy to carry and wield. I was alarmed because, at the very beginning of the book, I was lead to believe we would have sympathy throughout our study, for those stuck in situations like human trafficking, sexual abuse, violence, and domestic abuse, and so I found the sword/faith comparison this time a little disturbing, a bit frightening.

To compare our power as Christians to that of a machete, in modern days, is harsh and uncouth. This type of sword may have originally been a North American invention (as author Bevere states), and it may be used for numerous things such as cutting vines, gathering crops, and altering territory, but right now, it is only seen as a tool for murder, at least in the news. I extend a bit of grace to the author for the fact the book’s copyright dates back to 2013, so perhaps she wrote it without modern news in mind. But even that’s not an excuse. Here’s a story from 2008, about churchgoers in Kenya being literally slaughtered by a violent mob who held machetes (click here to read it), which was a story that came before she copyrighted the book. She writes her book for an international audience; then she must write for a broader view than her own!

To strengthen my argument, I took a quick moment on Google to search the term “machete”. At first you can see stores that sell them, the movie from IMDB titled “Machete”, among an assortment of things. But go to “News”, and all you see is violence, killing, and attempts to chase, threaten, and harm one another with the sword. I understand reading the Bible can even be harsh sometimes, and there are times when addressing war and weapons are acceptable, but considering the audience she boasts about having at the beginning of the book, I would think she’d consider their lives, stories, and traumatic experiences. I read a story, about a year ago, in a newsletter I get, where a woman talked about raiders who were Muslim came to her Christian village and horrifically slayed the villagers with the weapon, and she couldn’t get the image out of her mind, the image of her attacker holding the machete. How would she feel after reading Chapter 9? I don’t know, but I thought the book was meant to heal people like these, not remind them of their horrors, even making them feel like they need to hold the sword and wield it, like some sort of revenge or surrender.

Therefore, the uncouthness of the book leads me to say, I can no longer study the book, seeing as I feel betrayed for the sake of the audience (I thought) we both want to reach out to. I started with hope that insight would come; instead, as the book progresses, it gets repetitive (same message about good vs. evil repeated chapter after chapter), it gets shallow and gimmicky, which she herself condemns. Bevere also does interpret the Word and doesn’t teach it deeply; she simply uses it to further her message, which can be misleading.

After all, I’ll even confess. A hint of remorse is in my heart now, when I think of my earlier video activities, where I compared our lives to that of the samurai, or the musketeer, and others – yes, I taught it that way to be excited and zealous for the journey, and help others understand a good message, but I ask myself now, when can comparisons go too far? Can they be used to enshroud the truth, rather than reveal it? I feel that’s true in Chapter 9, that she cannot be straightforward and won’t tell us in more detail what we need to know, for right living, and for being God’s girls.

So after 9 weeks, I am frustrated and disappointed at Girls With Swords. Kat backed me up by saying, “Face it, it’s not the book I thought it would be.” Our study has not been worthless, but I would like to move on to something else now and conclude the study. Thank you so much for being interested, and let me know if you have questions or requests.

A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Proverbs 17:22

 

America

“It is a land as dark as midnight,

a land of gloom and confusion,

where even the light is dark as midnight.”

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“The Bible tells us, ‘how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.’

“We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected.

“We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.”


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“A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions. It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag. And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.”

“So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.”

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Prayer Power!

I have an exciting new story to tell this week about prayer and its power. If you ever doubted that praying matters, I can encourage you.

Last month, I decided I wasn’t doing enough to help children living in poverty. Providentially, an ad flashed onto the computer screen, displaying compassion.com, a website that gives donors the chance to sponsor a child in need – now I see this ad a lot, going to Christian sites and such, but this time, seeing it was an answer to my prayer of charity.

So I decided, with Kat’s support, we could work as a team, and we began praying for one child a day. By searching the children on compassion.com (they let you pick from a variety of details), we take the picture and bio of a child, and we print out the info to tape it into our prayer journals. Every night, we pray for God to provide the child a sponsor or help in other ways, like with education, health, and a good life.

21 days later, here’s our testimony to the power of prayer: Kat decided to search for these children again and could not find but 1 child! Some of them, like a 4 year old girl from Ghana, had been waiting over 300 days for a sponsor, so unless there’s another reason they might be gone, I imagine life is better in the lives of these 20 children. Is that not an amazing thought? For those of us tight on money, until God provides us with more fortune in our pocket, there is a way we can help!

Knights, the Crusades, and… Syria? Talk about Obsessed

It’s weird how when you’re obsessed in something, everything feeds your obsession, rather than distracts you from it.

While trying to figure out this week’s blog post, I passed time by reading news on Syria. Not much more about how the Aleppo residents are doing. So I moseyed to my home library in search for a book, any book, that would provide inspiration, and among an assortment of fiction, religious writings, technical books, and self-help, one called out to me: “Knights of the Crusades”, A Horizon Caravel Book, authored by Jay Williams, 1962.

This’ll give me material for my History category, I thought, but where do I start reading?

Lo and behold, as I flipped through it, the word “Syria” jumped off the page into my brain. No way! I checked the index to find out just how much Syria was a part of the Crusades, and as it turns out, oh yes, it does have something to do with that time in history, simply for being a neighboring country and main route to the main contention, Jerusalem.

In the 11th century, Muslims dominated Jerusalem. As the story goes, the Catholic pope decided it was time to gain the support of the masses and take back the Holy City in a religious escapade, with dreams that it would bring the entire world closer to God. There followed battle after battle, cities conquered, and crusaders named king over middle eastern lands, and can you imagine, in some unsettling way, it seems like the reverse of what is happening today. The Muslims have begun to thrive in regions of Europe, taking advantage, sometimes, of lenient governments. Not all Muslims are bad, true, and I wonder if the same was said about Crusaders a millennium ago.

Whether then or now, religion remains a strong influence on mankind. Early 1000s, Crusaders wiped out any people who got in the way of their religious victory. Modern day, jihadists do much the same, infiltrating their agenda within the hearts and minds of cultures, worldwide, slowly reaching higher heights. Yet people are harmed, voices are silenced, lives ended. How has time changed us, or does history fall victim to a cycle of sad fates?

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Prayer Petition December 5th-12th

Jesus says where two or three people come together in His name, He is there with them. We can come together, create unity, and make a real difference in the world, in Jesus name. Spread the word!

#PrayForGatlinburg #PrayForOakland #PrayForMichaelReed #RejoiceForEdinburgh

For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” Matthew 18:20 CEB

A Prayer for the Children of the World

Yesterday was International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). Tomorrow is Election Day for the United States of America. Soon, the US will have a new president.

My concerns are with the children of the world. What will happen to the next generation? How can US play a role in saving as many children as possible from poverty, homelessness, violence, and chaos? Who is the right person to lead the country I live in, which has been known to influence the world in good ways and bad ways, and is there a way to prevent war?

I say my prayer for this pivotal moment of time, in dedication to Christian youth facing trials of many kinds. (I regret not mentioning Europe in my prayer; I’ve read how Swedish people suffer, Germans suffer, French suffer; it seems persecution is global.)

Surely the Lord must have a plan to combat all the suffering, surely? Yes, he does. Jesus talked to us about why we suffer and who we are called to be. In a prayer He said to the Father, on behalf of all believers, He explained the plight we Christians face:

I have given them Your word; and the world has despised them because they are not products of the world, in the same way that I am not a product of the corrupt world order. Do not take them out of this world; protect them from the evil one.

Like Me, they are not products of the corrupt world order.Immerse them in the truth, the truth Your voice speaks. In the same way You sent Me into this world, I am sending them. It is entirely for their benefit that I have set Myself apart so that they may be set apart by truth. I am not asking solely for their benefit; this prayer is also for all the believers who will follow them and hear them speak. Father, may they all be one as You are in Me and I am in You; may they be in Us, for by this unity the world will believe that You sent Me…”

(John 17:14-21, VOICE)

Please close your eyes and pray with me:

How to Help the Victims of Boko Haram

The above image shows the map of Nigeria, most of it red, and bordering countries also in danger of Boko Haram. The red zones are where the militants have attacked.

I write this on October 2nd, 2016, Sunday evening, 5:16 PM: I check the US Census website, and it says there are over 7.3 billion people in the world. China has the world’s highest population, with over a billion; after India, United States ranks number 3, with over 300 million; and Nigeria is number 7, with 186, 053, 386 people. Honing in on Nigeria, imagine 75,000 children dying this year alone. Ok, that’s less than 0.1% of the Nigerian population, someone might reason. 1 in every 2,481 people. But that many deaths in one year make an enormous loss. The NBC article reporting the news claims it is so bad, that in some areas, malnutrition is killing up to 50 percent of the children. 1 in every 2 children. 1 in 2! Can you imagine a famine hitting so hard?

Food is scarce in areas where Boko Haram, a jihadist group, attack. Villages are raided, Read more