Stop Bad Habits, Start Needing God

Just about everybody has a quirk or flaw about themselves they don’t like. If you’re like me, you have a couple of really bad habits you want to change, but it’s hard. It’s maybe impossible to, and sometimes, you know God wouldn’t approve of the bad habit since the Bible calls it sin.

So the other day, I tried to find a brain hack for my bad habit. Literally. I was emerging out of dreamland that morning, and something made me roll over in bed and punch the ‘Home’ button on my Ipad to wake it up before even I was awake.  I went to Google and searched what part of the brain’s functions governs habits, such as over-eating, smoking, lying, etc.  In a nutshell, this is the facts research tells us:

There is a place where cells are located, at the center of your brain, called the bed nucleus. That cell group sends signals through the stria terminalis, which looks like a cable connecting and transmitting info from part to part. Also, the amygdala (another part) is connected to the stria terminalis, and it releases emotions. If you have a craving that says “I want a hot dog”, emotion is sent from the amygdala to the bed nucleus, where the nuclei send the reply, “Go to Sonic and buy one!”

(Disclaimer: my research is only from scouring various medical writings, and is not doctoral advice.)

I sat up from bed as I rubbed my eyes, wondering how I could stop my bad habit after learning the facts. There’s gotta be SOME way to apply the knowledge and stop sinning, I thought to myself. How?  I pondered throughout the day, but sheesh, I’m no neurologist! I can’t engineer a new way to cure cravings (can I?)! So I gave up on that idea of solving the problem, until late the next night…

…I was going to bed and got that bad-habit-craving again. My thoughts were filled. It was impossible to not think about the craving…

….That’s when a new character entered the scene for the first time ever: RATIONALITY. If my brain was a movie script and there were three characters, RATIONALITY was the new guy in town, breaking the endless cycle. The thought process went like this:

CRAVING: You want it! Get it. Let’s move it, move it.

SELF: I shouldn’t! God says I shouldn’t, so I shouldn’t.

CRAVING: Ok, yeah you’re right... NOT! (shoves SELF) Let’s move it, move it.

SELF: No! I want to please God, not you. You’re not my boss!

CRAVING:  Oh yeah? (scoffs) I won’t let you go to sleep until I’m happy. You will have insomnia, stress, anxiety, and depression.

SELF: ...you’re blackmailing me?

CRAVING: (shrugs) Uh... yeah! That’s what people call it, but why be so technical? Come on! It’ll be fun. Let’s move it, move it. You like it.

SELF: (follows CRAVING)

RATIONALITY enters and stands protectively between CRAVING and SELF, defending SELF.

RATIONALITY: I couldn’t help but overhear. CRAVING is pressuring you right now, SELF; if you give in, you will only regret it later and wish you had avoided it. So you might as well not temporarily reward yourself when the guilt lasts a lot longer than the pleasure. What is there to gain in a reward that you’ve already experienced and know, when you could gain so much more by denying CRAVING and doing what you want – what God wants you to want – instead. CRAVING will always pester you, but you have the power to look into the future, see the consequences, and choose to say ‘NO’.

That was the moment in Wizard of Oz when Scarecrow got an honorary degree of T.H.D. from Oz, and started reciting a complicated equation! It was the moment in Labyrinth when Sarah told Jareth, “You have no power over me”. It was the moment in Anastasia when Anya said “Dasvidanya!” to Rasputin and angrily crunched his glowing vile of life-giving energy under her shoe, breaking it and ending the demon. It was the moment my brain got itself in order, and I could think straight long enough for the craving to fade away. Rationality entered the scene, and Self had the chance to decide before Craving dominated.

I don’t consider what happened a cure for my bad habit, or something that can be engineered to work for everyone, but the neurological research helped me, in that moment, rationalize my brain’s activity, the sending of signals back and forth. That gave me a chance to think about the pros and cons of my craving. Sometimes, a chance to wait out the storm is all you need to say ‘NO’.

Unfortunately for our souls, we live in a world where Craving is the hero instead of Rationality; sexuality is exploited and honored, money is power, and addictions are legal. Love is skewed to mean pleasure not sacrifice; virtual reality governs actions; phones feed our cravings and keep us empty of affection; brains therefore develop into a complicated system of iniquity and we no longer recognize who God is or if he even exists. We live in a world where skeptics doubt a God they can’t see, while sending messages to friends 4,000 miles away in 5 seconds which is easy to grasp because it’s somehow normal and explainable.

Well, I’m here to explain God for 100 more words of your time:

Jeremiah 23:5 says, “I will raise unto David a righteous Branch” which is Jesus Christ, the Messiah we now have access to through the historically proven Bible and prayer. To be right with God, to be righteous, we must program our brains to need Christ (1 Peter 2:2, Psalm 37:7). In the Bible it’s known as being thirsty. Read the story about Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4:4-42) for understanding. If you become thirsty for righteousness, Christ will bring you contentment.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God’s approval.
They will be satisfied.”  -Matthew 5:6

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Heartland: If all TV was this good, I’d watch TV.

My mother is a true Texan cowgirl at heart.  If she had gotten her childhood dream-come-true, then I would probably have grown up on a Texas ranch, enjoying the open hills and tending to horses as my daily chores.  Mom loved horses that much.  (She still does.)

Instead my father was a part of the Air Force and so our family moved all over the world.  Mom followed him wherever he moved to, taking care of us kids as best as she knew how.  She was content with her life, but it came as no surprise when I learned a few years ago that her favorite show on Netflix was Heartland. She wanted to share her favorite show with Lacy and me.

Heartland is a Canadian show based after the book series with the same name, which I have never read.  Mom’s right: it’s great. And lately, it’s gotten even better.  Keep in mind that Netflix keeps us 2 seasons behind so we just finished season 9, but I’m very impressed.  It’s a wholesome, clean family show with a great cast.  Amber Marshall, Shaun Johnston, Chris Potter, Graham Wardle, and Michelle Morgan, along with one of my favorites in the cast Jessica Steen, make the show a heartwarming inspiration.

Heartland has always been enjoyable, but since the introduction of Alisha Newton, who plays Lou and Peter’s adopted daughter Georgie, the show has become my favorite.   Alisha plays her part well, making the social issues and family insecurities of an orphaned foster child very realistic.  My favorite characters used to be Lou and Peter, but the past season has moved Georgie into my favorite, along with Amy and Ty, whose relationship I have grown to like very much, recently.

*Major spoiler ahead*

The only complaint that I have with the show comes from a pet peeve that I have.  As a child, I had the perfect example of what a self-sacrificing, family-loving woman should be.  My mother gave up everything to be married and take the role of being a good wife and mother.  I am not saying that the homemaker’s life is for all women; what I am saying is that my mother chose to live the life that she believed God wanted from her, and that my life -as her child- was blessed greatly by that choice she made.

And so having parents that have been married for 40 years now, it breaks my heart to see the choices that the show has Lou and Peter make “in the best interest of their children”. The divorce was an injustice: not only for Lou who loved Peter when she discovered his girlfriend in Vancouver; or for Peter when he rediscovered his love for Lou after she had already moved on; but also for Georgie, who had already faced the loss of both parents as well as abandonment issues from her life in foster care.  How can her adopted father and mother’s separation and divorce be in her best interest after they had just gotten her over her separation and abandonment issues? (That’s not even getting into little Katie, who will now have to live with a broken home. It’s a tragedy when a child’s parents lose their love for each other.)

Unfortunately, divorce is a very rampant reality in our world today: the lie that a person has the right to do whatever makes them feel good, despite the hurt feelings that may occur to all the people around them. It makes me truly sad. :(

All in all though, Heartland is a wonderful story.  It’s hard to find a show that’s got true family moral values.  But to quote my mom: “Television shows now-days always feel like they have to have a villain that you need to hate; but in Heartland, all of the characters are just normal people with normal everyday family and life issues.”  And since every show I choose to watch always has my favorite character go rogue and turn evil, I really couldn’t have said it better myself.

To Sign or Not to Sign: Filmmakers’ Freedom

“’Youtube should support the right to free speech without censorship and discrimination.’

“Please go and sign, please go and sign the petition. You know what, we’re not just fighting for us – I hate to use that word fight. I’m not challenging their decision just for us. I’m challenging [Youtube] for ALL of you all, that if you have a conservative voice, or even if you have a voice and is being censored it’s wrong. Because still, that is still, a violation of your freedom –your 1st Amendment your freedom of speech- and you should be able to speak what you want to speak without somebody discriminating against you. Especially if you not even speaking hate speech. You just telling the truth about some things. Hun, they prefer to – Listen. They would prefer to hear well-dressed lies than the naked, nasty truth. And listen. I have to speak my mind, because it hurts me to bite my tongue. I can’t bite it, ya’ll!”

-Diamond and Silk, in a live video tonight (August 16, 2017) on Facebook

According to the Republican TV personalities Diamond and Silk, Youtube has plans to ostracize, isolate, and in a sense silence the voices of those who exercise their freedom of speech by uploading videos, whenever Youtube deems it “hate speech”, “violent extremism”, “controversial”, “religious”, or “supremacist content”. The videos will not be completely removed, only they will be limited to where comments, ads, and recommendation features are all disabled, so that people cannot support the users, and advertisers won’t have to pay for their ads to show on what seems to be offensive content.

How does this affect us as Christians, and how does this make us stronger rather than pull us apart?

Now, there are some things about Diamond and Silk I do not prefer. They use harsh language (which they frequently apologize for doing), they are somewhat extreme I will admit, and some may label their videos as hate speech, but unless either one of them actually commit a crime like stealing, murdering, vandalizing property, or harassing a person in a way that can be taken to court, I don’t agree that their freedom to speak their opinions should be limited, or if so, be fair about it and limit every single video where anyone is stating harsh views, including Republicans, Democrats, Christians, Muslims, LGBT activists, or anyone who expresses any strong viewpoints that are not acceptable to the opposite viewpoint. (I’m not for Youtube limiting everyone, I’m just making the point it is unfair to limit some, not others.) The question I want to ask: why is The Viewer’s View (aka Diamond and Silk)’s expression of views considered hate speech, and deserve a disabled and limited access to Youtube, whenever The View  (aka Joy Behar, Paula Faris, Sara Haines, Whoopi Goldberg) continues to receive all the benefits of monetization, etc? Only one answer: discrimination.

To speak in defense of Youtube for a minute, I had a conversation about this with someone else and she had a great point: if you don’t like how Youtube does it, go somewhere else and do business. As a business, maybe Youtube (owned by Google) should be able to deny their services to religious activists and extremists, and you may agree depending on if you are for or against that viewpoint.

If you do not agree with Youtube, and want for the video community to stay deep, diverse, inclusive, and accepting, please consider signing Diamond and Silk’s petition, which you can go to and sign at the link below. (Click on the picture.)

Diamond and Silk's Petition

Either way, Kat and my Youtube channel (Autumn Angel Art) will not be affected by the demonetization strategy, because we have chosen not to display ads. We have always wanted to keep our channel clean and without distraction; also, to keep our work as a ministry with no worship of money. That, however, is a personal choice and other religious (and not religious) users, I believe, should have the right to make money like anyone else, if that’s what they think is right for their needs.

Therefore, we have decided to sign the petition in respect to all filmmakers’ freedoms and rights, their equal standing with the world, but I also pray that other video sites prosper outside of Youtube. Soon, it may become a matter of conscience for video makers (Christian or not) to do business elsewhere. I know I will be doing research to find other places to upload and include my videos, in case the discrimination levels grow far worse and my channel is also affected or deleted. Perhaps Godtube and Vimeo are other choices?

 

Puppet Skit: “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus” Part 3

COCOA: Detective Snowy, Detective Snowy, where are you?  (sniff, sniff) I smell trouble.  (sniff, sniff) Something is wrong.

(HAPPY and FABLE enter)

COCOA: Has anyone seen Detective Snowy? We need to make tracks and find the last clue. I can’t find my detective.

HAPPY: No, Cocoa. I haven’t seen her anywhere.  It’s not like Snowball to be late for VBS. Something must have happened.

FABLE: She was going to the mouse alley earlier this morning to visit her friends.  But she should be back by now.

COCOA: Detective Snowy is not here. I’ve sniffed everywhere. I’ve got to get busy and find her.

HAPPY: I’ll help you find Snowball. She might need some help.

FABLE: Yes. Let’s go to the mouse alley and find her.

(SNOWBALL enters “mewing”, without her spy glass and hat.)

COCOA: Detective Snowy. There you are! But, what happened to you? You look like you’ve been in a cat fight!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, don’t call me Detective Snowy. I’m just plain old Snowball.

COCOA: Snowball, what happened?

SNOWBALL: I went to the mouse alley this morning. I was with my friends Stuart and Fival, telling them about VBS, when the mean cats showed up.  The cats started chasing all the mice in the alley.

FABLE: It’s not nice to bother the little guys.

SNOWBALL: Those mean cats hurt Stuart and Fival. I got really mad. I tried to hold on to my temper like Jesus would, but I got so mad.  I started yelling at those other cats.  They had no reason to be mean to my friends. And I got madder because they wouldn’t stop it when I told them to. They started calling me names and THAT did it! I started throwing things around. I scared all the ugly old cats away, and I don’t think they’ll be coming back; but I broke my spyglass and lost my cap.

COCOA: Wow, you’ve had a rough time!

HAPPY: We should have been there to help you defend the mice.

FABLE: Are you okay, Snowball?

AllFour

SNOWBALL: I’m okay, Fable.  You all are such great friends.  You are loving and caring, and so faithful. You’ve got the characterprints of Jesus. I wish I had found the last characterprint before I got so angry. I don’t feel like I’m very much like Jesus. I didn’t find anybody who was brave and courageous.

COCOA: Snowball, Jesus did act like that in the temple. You missed our Bible story today. The Bible says that Jesus got angry with the ones who were being mean to others.  God doesn’t like it when someone hurts others. Jesus showed us how mad God gets.  He threw the table down and ran the mean people out of the temple.

HAPPY: That’s right. God gets very angry at evil.

SNOWBALL: Yeah. But I still didn’t find the last character print. I’m not good enough to be a detective.  I needed to find someone who is brave and courageous.

FABLE: Snowball, I think we know who is brave and courageous.

SNOWBALL: Really? Who? Please tell me. Who is it?

HAPPY: It’s you, Snowball. You defended those poor little mice from the mean old cats, even when they insulted you.

FABLE: Jesus did the same thing.

COCOA: You are very brave, Snowball. Just like Jesus.

SNOWBALL: You guys can’t be serious! I can’t believe this. I have a characterprint like Jesus? Are you guys playing a joke on me?

HAPPY: No, Snowball. We really mean it.

SNOWBALL: Wow! I never thought I’d find any characterprints in me. I was surprised to find Cocoa was humble and loving, but me!? This is more than I ever expected! Are you guys positive I’m like Jesus?

FABLE: Yes, Snowball. We’re positive.

COCOA: So, Snowball. How do you feel now that you’ve found all the characterprints of Jesus? Are you proud of yourself?

SNOWBALL: Well, yeah. But not as much as I thought I would be. You all get the credit, too. A little. I did do most of it myself.

COCOA: What!?

SNOWBALL: Let’s review the character prints we found. Cocoa, you were humble when you took a flea bath, and you were loving when you let me change your name. Okay, it was ridiculous to change our names.

FABLE: Happy was faithful. He didn’t stop liking you when  you changed your names. He didn’t make fun of you either.

HAPPY: Fable was forgiving. He forgave Cocoa for what Cocoa said to him.

COCOA: You don’t have to  bring that up, do you?

FABLE: Don’t worry, Cocoa. I forgive you.

SNOWBALL: And I was brave and courageous. I saved the poor lSnowball-ENDittle mice from the mean cats.

COCOA: Yeah! You’re not Detective Snowy – you’re Catgirl, champion of mice!

SNOWBALL: Catgirl?

COCOA: Yes, you can be a super hero….and….I’ll be your dog!

SNOWBALL: No, Cocoa. Let’s just be friends.  Let’s help each other be like Jesus. He’s the real super hero. Jesus Christ is the champion of the whole world.

COCOA: That’s right! Jesus loves everyone!

FABLE: And Jesus is forgiving.

HAPPY: Jesus is faithful.

SNOWBALL: Jesus is brave and courageous! He helps everyone who needs his help. He saves us all!

HAPPY: I hope everyone enjoyed VBS.

FABLE: I sure did.

SNOWBALL: So did I. I learned a lot and I hope I can come back next summer!

HAPPY: Well, bye everyone!

SNOWBALL: Yeah, bye everyone!

FABLE: I hope you continue to have the character prints of Jesus all your life.

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, why aren’t you saying goodbye to everyone?

COCOA: I’m thinking about changing my name to Champion.

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, say good-bye to the audience.

COCOA: Good-bye to the audience. Oh! Bye everyone. I hope you will go into all the world and make tracks for Jesus!

SNOWBALL: Hey, Cocoa, Fable, Happy, let’s go eat! I’m starving!

COCOA: Yeah! Let’s make tracks to my house! I’ve got some mice in the freezer!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa! Don’t make me mad!

COCOA: I’m just kidding, Snowball.

(All puppets leave stage.)

(Behind curtain) COCOA: Ow! I’m just kidding Snowball.

THE END

Puppet Skit: “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus” Part 2

(SNOWBALL and COCOA enter)

SNOWBALL: I was thinking, Cocoa. Do you think I should change my name?

COCOA: Uh, I don’t know. Snowball sounds “cool” to me.

SNOWBALL: I think I need to change my name to Detective Snowy.  How does that sound?

COCOA: Snowball, I think your name is just fine like it is. Come on, make tracks! Let’s find some more characterprints!

SNOWBALL: WAIT a minute! I’m the detective! I decide what to do! And I say I’m going to change my name. I’m Detective Snowy. And I’ll change your name to….um….YES! Your name is Sir Chocolate.

CCocoaOCOA: Sir Chocolate?

SNOWBALL: Yes, Sir Chocolate. It’s so much more sophisticated and mature. After all, it’s European.

COCOA: You mean I’m foreign? Do I lose my character prints if I’m foreign?

SNOWBALL: No, Cocoa, uh, I mean, Sir Chocolate.  You’ll be the same no matter what name you have.  Jesus had a human name but he’s still our Lord and Savior.  And he loves the whole world, not only one nation.

COCOA: Well, uh, I don’t want to change my name.

SNOWBALL: Oh, come on. Just for the next two days.  Then you can change it back to Cocoa.

COCOA: Okay. You can call me Sir Chocolate.  But you’re the only one.

SNOWBALL: Okay! Thanks! You’re a good dog.

(HAPPY enters)

HAPPY: Hiya, Snowball. Hey, Cocoa.

SNOWBALL: Hi, Happy.

HAPPY: Fable told me you’re a detective now. Where’s your detective’s coat?  All detectives have cool trench coats.

SNOWBALL: I don’t need a trench coat. I have my own coat of fur, thank you very much.  A beautiful coat of fur if I might add. And my name is Detective Snowy, NOT Snowball.

HAPPY: Oh. Well, Detective Snowy, I still love you no matter what you change your name to. And Jesus loves you, no matter how much you change.

SNOWBALL: How come everyone is being so loving and faithful today?

HAPPY: Well, Snowball, I mean, Detective Snowy, those are two of the characterprints of Jesus.

SNOWBALL: Oh, YES! I forgot all about the clues! What are the next two clues, Sir Chocolate? Get busy and sniff out our next two clues!

COCOA: (sniff, sniff loudly) I smell……sniff, sniff…..um……I smell something.

SNOWBALL: What do you smell, Sir Chocolate?  Tell me.

COCOA: I smell you, Detective Snowy.  You smell sweet.Snowball

SNOWBALL: Oh, Sir Chocolate…..you’re…..you’re so European.

HAPPY: Hey, Snowy and Chocolate, why the new names? I thought you were finding characterprints for VBS?

SNOWBALL: We’re looking for someone who is loving and faithful.

COCOA: Hey, Detective Snowy! I think we’ve found someone. Happy! He is faithful; he’s our friend even when we change our names.

HAPPY: That’s right. You can change your name all you want, and I still like you.  It’s not your name, or your parents, or your friends that makes me like you. It’s who you are. Sure, you have some flaws, but we all do. Jesus doesn’t just look at what you do wrong; he looks at what you do right. And there are lots of things you do right.

SNOWBALL: Absolutely! You’re right, Sir Chocolate. We have found a character print in Happy.  He is very faithful. But, what about loving?  Let’s keep looking….

(SNOWBALL wanders away, looking for clues)

HAPPY: Cocoa, why is she calling you Sir Chocolate?

COCOA: Oh, she wanted me to have a foreign name, but she’s just calling me Sir Chocolate for the next two days.  I finally agreed after I found out I wouldn’t lose my characterprints.

HAPPY: Detective Snowy, I think you need to look a little closer than that.  Cocoa is very loving, and his love for you allows him to be your dog, and lets you change his name.

COCOA: Do you mean I’m humble – and now – I’m also loving?  Bow WOW, I thought I was just being nice to my friend!

HAPPY: You were, Cocoa. That’s exactly right. When you’re nice to your friends, that shows that you have character prints like Jesus.  You’re loving and humble.

SNOWBALL: I thought you had to be nice to your enemies, and all that stuff, before you could be loving like Jesus.

HAPPY: Well, that’s true, too, Detective Snowy.  Jesus says to be nice to everyone. But if you think about it – Cocoa would be considered as the enemy to most cats! You’re very lucky to have him as your friend.

SNOWBALL: You’re right, Happy! Thanks for helping me see that. Who would have thought? Sir Chocolate is loving! Meow! I solved the next two clues. Happy is faithful, and Sir Chocolate is loving.

HAPPY: Come on, Detective Snowy.  You, too, Sir Chocolate. Let’s go get a banana split.  I’ll make the best one you’ve ever tasted!

COCOA: All right! Make tracks!  Find me some pineapple topping!

SNOWBALL: I get the strawberry topping!

HAPPY: And I like the chocolate! But most of all, I like my friends!

(HAPPY, SNOWBALL and COCOA exit)

 

Puppet Skit: “Finding the Characterprints of Jesus” Part 1

SNOWBALL: Hello, I’m detective Snowball, and I’m here to see if anyone in this room has characterprints like Jesus.

(COCOA enters)

COCOA: Hey Snowball. Whatcha doing?

SNOWBALL: Well, if you weren’t late, you would have heard me the first time.  I’m a detective, and I’m going to find out if anyone in this room has the characterprints like Jesus.

COCOA: Hah! Hah! That’s funny Snowball.  You can’t be a detective.

SNOWBALL: Why not?

COCOA: You can’t even sniff out your own litter box! You can’t find any clues.

SNOWBALL: I can too!

COCOA: Can not!

SNOWBALL: Can too!

COCOA: Can not!

SNOWBALL: Fine. If you really want to help, you can be my dog.

COCOA: All right!  I’ll sniff out any clues there are! I’ll be the best dog detective anyone’s ever seen!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa?

COCOA: Yes?

SNOWBALL: You are NOT a dog detective.  I’m the detective. You are just the detective’s dog. Okay?

COCOA: Oh, okay.  Sorry. What clues do we look for first?

SNOWBALL: First, we’re looking for the meek and humble characterprints.  Also, the forgiving and merciful prints.

COCOA: Oh, yeah!  That should be easy!  Wait! (sniff, sniff loudly) I think I smell something! It’s… it’s… (sniff more, then pause)… IT STINKS! Who’s wearing dirty socks? Yuck!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa?  I think you’re smelling yourself now.  Which reminds me. Before we get started, you need to take a flea bath and get a leash.  After all, I think ALL dogs need to be on leashes.

COCOA: WHAT!?  No way! I can’t do that! That goes against my dog instincts!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, even your instinct STINKS! If you don’t go get a flea bath right now, I’ll…..

(FABLE-enter-interrupts)

FABLE: Hi Snowball. Hey Cocoa. Um, Snowball, what are you doing?

COCOA: She’s Detective Snowball, and I’m her dog!  We’re trying to find someone with the characterprints of Jesus.  We don’t waste time sitting around writing silly fables!

SNOWBALL: Cocoa! You’re terrible.  Now I’m convinced you don’t have any characterprints.  That was a very rude thing to say to Fable! If you keep that up, I will have to disown you.  I do not want such a stinky animal for MY dog!

FABLE: That’s okay, Snowball. Don’t be mad at Cocoa.  I know he didn’t mean it.  Not everyone enjoys writing stories like I do. To Cocoa, writing fables might be wasting time, and I respect his opinion.  I don’t expect him to like everything I do. After all, none of us are ever exactly alike.  We can be totally different, yet we can still be very good friends.  We can still like each other.  Jesus wants us to be different, and he wants us to be very good friends to everyone.

SNOWBALL: Fable, that was such a forgiving thing to say. After all, Cocoa is only a DOG, and dogs don’t know anything when it comes to being polite.

FABLE: Well, Snowball, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say about Cocoa.  Do you realize that Cocoa is actually very humble by being your dog? He is trying to help you.

SNOWBALL: I guess you’re right, Fable.  Everything I said was true, but I guess I shouldn’t have said it.  Sorry Cocoa. I do thank you for your help.

COCOA: That’s okay! I forgive you, Snowball. Fable, could you do me a favor?

FABLE: What is it, Cocoa?

COCOA: Well, I sorta was just thinking….could you help me, um, take a flea bath?

FABLE: Oh, sure, Cocoa.  Come on. Let’s take a bubble bath!

(COCOA and FABLE leave)

SNOWBALL: Well, I guess I solved the first two clues.  Fable is forgiving. He could have gotten really mad at Cocoa, but he didn’t.  He didn’t yell; he didn’t throw things around, or anything.  Just like Jesus at the cross.  Jesus could have gotten really, really mad, and called the angels to help him get off the cross, but he didn’t.  He died because he loved his friends and his enemies.  And Cocoa, that silly dog, didn’t have to take a flea bath, but he did it for me, so I would be happy.  What a friend!  He’s a good dog.

(COCOA comes back)

COCOA: Okay, let’s make tracks!  I’m ready to find the next two clues! What do we look for next?SnowCocoa

SNOWBALL: Cocoa, we can’t look for any more character prints today.  VBS is over and the kids are going  home.  But we’ll look for more tomorrow.  Come on, let’s go eat lunch.  I’m starving.  Let’s go get some hot dogs!

COCOA: Um, Snowball? Can we eat pizza?  I don’t like to eat hot dogs.

SNOWBALL: Okay, Cocoa. Hey! You look great! You’re really a “hot” dog!  And humble too.

(COCOA and SNOWBALL exit)

 

Experiencing the Spirit’s “It”

Have you ever felt in your zone? Like, this is what I’m meant to do, this right here, and nothing else matters just so long as you can experience “It”?

I’ve felt that way ever since that time a few years ago…

I remember It. Summertime was here and I was swimming in my pool when suddenly, fear struck my heart. The breeze blew my wet hair and thoughts of actor Robin Williams surfaced; I felt a sense of worry. It grew stronger. Why? My mind pulled me to pray, but I dwelt on nothing except the feeling. The fear. I didn’t know why I couldn’t stop worrying. There was nothing indicating anything was wrong. Who am I, I questioned, to pray for someone far away, someone I rarely think about, and Robin surely doesn’t think of me. I don’t know what’s going on with him, so why should I pray? 

Then August came. Robin Williams passed away tragically. Emotion led me to write about him in my prayer journal on August 11, 2014:

“Tonight the internet posted… Robin Williams died, age 63, from what people think was depression/suicide, cause of death being asphyxiation. Lord, that made me so sad… to know that, it makes me distressed. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately, you know, and at one point I even thought about putting him on my prayer list, but then I forgot to. 😦

It made me realize how important it is to do what is right as soon as I can, without dilly-dallying. I don’t know what anyone is going through.”

The same thing – It – happened with Whitney Houston 2 years before. I was thinking about her before she died. I was worried about her for no apparent reason. Commonly, I listened to her song on Pandora’s pop station, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and danced and sang along, and the beat made me feel energized and happy, but days before her death the music was a little bit sadder. I looked at her face on the cover of the album and grew worried and sad. Unfortunately, I didn’t pray for her either, because I wasn’t listening to It, the Holy Spirit’s calling, and she died 2 days after singing “Jesus Loves Me” with Kelly Price, in what is determined to be an accidental death.

Since Robin Williams, I try never to take thinking about someone, close or far-away, for granted. Whether they know me or not, that gives me no less responsibility to respond to It, do what God calls me to do, and if that means praying for random people, I’m there.

“It” is kind of like a spiritual ya-ya or pow-wow or whatever they’re called, when people are joined together hand in hand, or in a huddle, and they all feel less alone and scared, because they’re pouring out hearts to one another, except It is all in the unseen realm and completely on a God level, where nobody sees each other. Some call it ESP and some call it random clusters of luck, but truth be told there is a Spirit that connects us together. Kind of like in Acts 9:7 when “the men who were traveling with him [Saul] stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.” God is there. He does speak.

I had another mental occurrence last week for a celebrity; I welcome you pray if you feel It too.

Last week, I dreamed about George Lucas. In my dream, I was trying to find out how to talk to him personally, because I was writing a story and wanted his mentorship, so the dream flashed forward to an interview, where I asked him whether he was proud of the new Disney-made Star Wars movies. He shrugged and said, “I don’t know, I don’t care what they do with the story, just so they make the characters happy in the end. If they have all the characters die, I’ll be upset, but I really don’t care.” He walked off with a briefcase and I was left following him into a rainy street. The street lights hit the road and made it shine, and he looked back at me, but continued on his way, and I felt sorry for him. After a lingering darkness, I awoke.

We can pray that George Lucas copes with the continuation of Star Wars and that he continues to be strong, because I am not among the group who holds to the opinion that everything Mr. Lucas did was for money -there are actually some on the internet saying that- and I feel like he could be stressed seeing his lifelong (or for a long time) project be altered and adapted to match today’s society.

In conclusion, there’s an answer now that lingers when I question “Who am I?” I guess I’m God’s prayer warrior, because he calls me time and time again to pray for people in need. Even public figures, the rich, celebs, and government officials need prayers, so I’ll respond to the call this time. Now… unlike before… I’ll be there. I’ve experienced “It” and I know what to call It: it’s not extrasensory perception, it’s not intuition, it’s not clairvoyance, It is God’s voice and he knows who is in need of the spiritual gathering of souls, for us to unite in prayer, to rescue, seek and save the lost.

Help me!

With love, Lacy

Additional journal prayers about Robin and Zelda Williams:

August  12, 2014: “Please be with Zelda Williams right now, during her daddy’s death/wake. Whatever you call it. Lord, please be with those around her, that they might give her love, so she doesn’t fall into depression, too. We’re [Kat and I] thinking about doing something for Zelda Williams on Twitter to give our condolences regarding her dad, Robin. She tweeted something saying ‘I love you. I miss you. I’ll keep trying to look up.’ Along with a quote about stars and how stars will laugh for Robin or something…

“Troy [my uncle] posted up something saying that Robin was the type of man who liked reading Chronicles of Narnia to his kids. Maybe he was a Christian, who knows. You know, Lord. You know.”

August 13, 2014: “Be with Zelda Williams – we’re considering drawing a picture of Zelda as [Princess] Zelda (a new costume design) and advertising Saint Jude’s on it, maybe even her specific link, the one where people can win a trip to Expo 2014… if it’s still applicable. Tell us if it’s wrong. She got off Twitter but she’s still on it. Just taking a break.”

August 14, 2014: “All I know is that we need to figure out what we are doing most of all on The Lair [our game’s original title], for now, and of course, Zelda Williams. She needs encouragement right now. I hope I can do something creative enough to speak to her.”

August 15, 2014: “Thank you for your beautiful blessings you bestow on me everyday. I said something earlier I regret – something like, ‘If God gave us the Merlin cast, Zelda Williams, and KOEI to work with, on Merlin and Camelot Musou (a game [idea we had]), we’d have the best of three worlds and we’d have to thank God everyday for all the blessings he’s given us.’ As if we shouldn’t give thanks anyway! Sorry if this is wrong, Lord. I’m sure it was careless of me to say it.

“I’m fearful I am going to doubt again about my future and even about salvation and heaven/etc., because the idea that Robin Williams will go to Hell is eating pretty bad at me, however, there is nothing I should worry about that. You have got that under control! If he is a man who accepted Jesus in his heart, and he followed the path of Christ, then he’ll be in heaven!”

“…Please have Dmini [online friend] write back to my fanart. 😦 Unless I really am supposed to move on…. maybe I should focus on getting Zelda’s picture done first.

“…Father, please continue to be with Zelda Williams. Twitter has taken action against the trolls that kicked her off of Twitter. They want to be more aggressive in stopping bullies. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen”

August 16, 2014: “Father, today I didn’t get a lot done on Zelda Williams’ fanart. In fact, I almost felt bad again for trying to make a happy picture. So I ask you to guide my inspiration for that. Please help me to know how to react to someone who just had their father kill himself. What a sad circumstance. How can I ever relate?”

I never have been able to draw the picture for Zelda yet, but I still pray for her. I invite you to pray with me.

“Most certainly I tell you, he who hears my word, and believes him who sent me, has eternal life, and doesn’t come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24