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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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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Shop on Zazzle for the Men’s “Knight of the Crusades” Adidas ClimaLite® T-Shirt or the Women’s “Knight of the Crusades” Basic T-Shirt

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Melania: To Design or Not to Design

Shakespeare’s famous quote “To be or not to be, that is the question” seems to be the motto of designers lately, when it comes to America’s next First Lady, Melania Trump: to design dresses or not design, that is the question.

Sophie Theallet, the fashion designer who asked her fellow designers to protest Melania as First Lady with her, has designed dresses for Michelle Obama, so I can only think she feels a sense of loyalty; when other designers decide whether they should join her, they can remember, it may not apply to their career the way it does Sophie’s. Unless a designer has endorsed Michelle Obama at some point, they need not follow the trend, just to suddenly “fit in”. Until Mrs. Obama makes a public statement protesting Mrs. Trump herself, telling loyalists to do the same, even designers who are Democrat can keep their integrity, continue forward with stride, and be willing to design for Melania Trump.

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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:

Casting My Vote

Accusations, being pointed from both sides; “He did this”, or “she did that”.  Are the Trump accusations real?  What about the Clinton email scandals? In a generation where movie cinematics are popular and videos can be made by middle-schoolers, its hard to believe the audio, the video, and the emails that are leaked against them both.  It all seems like a very bad political espionage story that’s gotten out of hand.

The truth is, Trump supporters think Hillary lies. And Hillary supporters think Trump lies.  I personally choose to support Trump and trust him.  Whether he’s done what he was accused of or not, Trump has prayed for forgiveness for whatever was on his conscience, and has apologized.  As a Christian, I must forgive him of whatever he has done, or God will with-hold the forgiveness that I seek when I sin.  In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells us a story of an unforgiving servant and his fate: when the servant’s master forgives him of his own wrong and releases him of any responsibility, the servant is shown mercy. But when the servant refuses to forgive another servant, throwing him in prison to punish him, the master calls the unforgiving servant back and punishes him, because he wasn’t willing to show the same mercy that the master had shone. Jesus says in verse 35 that “this king did what my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”  (ICB)

Also, in Luke 17:3 we are told “So be careful! If your brother sins, tell him he is wrong. But if he is sorry and stops sinning, forgive him.  If your brother sins against you seven times in one day, but he says that he is sorry each time, then forgive him.” (ICB)

It’s a harsh message, but true.  If I don’t forgive Trump, I will not be forgiven.  If Hillary seeks forgiveness and I don’t forgive her, then God will not forget any wrongs that I do in my own heart.

So with God’s law in mind, I must forgive and forget what is held against Trump.  I have to strip away the accusations that were said against him; which leaves me with only one way to judge who to vote for: to think of the promises that they make, the policies that they name, and the actions that they take.  You can tell a lot from someone by watching them and listening to their words.

Now, there are 2 other candidates that Americans can vote for, but for anyone who wonders why people still vote for Trump, let me tell you why I choose to support him in this election:

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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

How to Pray for Victims of Al-Shabaab

The above image shows the danger zones where Al-Shabaab militants are located. Red shows their concentrated control.

Two weeks ago, I created a video promoting IDOP, the International Day of Prayer for the persecuted church (November 6th, 2016). I asked for Christians to pray with me. However, there is a possibility some of you want to pray, but have no idea what to pray for. I mean, the thought might cross your mind: I have no knowledge about the people suffering. I don’t know how to emotionally connect enough to pray, and I don’t have time to learn more. That’s a natural thought process. We have lives. We are very busy.

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#IDOP – International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

Mark your calendar for the first Sunday in November. November 6 is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, also known as IDOP. This day has been designated as a day to pray for the Christians facing oppression, whether from government or culture, especially found in Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Praying on IDOP is more serious than simply asking for world peace. If we want to use the word deplorable, let us use it to describe the conditions some face in hostile regions of the world.

If you are living in the free world, help me spread the word by sharing my video. You don’t have to do it on social media where there is a device between you and the other person; talk to your friends about it face to face. What we need to do is get each other involved to truly make IDOP bountiful and good for the ones suffering. We need to lift each other’s words up in prayer, saying things like “Amen!”, “Bless you”, or “Yes, Jesus” when a fellow Christian is praying. To put your hand on a friend’s shoulder also helps spur him on to have a more powerful meaning. (And when praying with non-Christians, you can talk to Jesus in your own mind, letting Christ know you want His attention.)

If you are not in the free world, or you do not feel safe to profess your faith, you can still pray privately on this day. Kneel down to God in an enclosed room, all alone, and cry out to him for deliverance. Embrace the ones you love, hug and kiss them, and say a prayer on behalf of others suffering, too.

God will hear our prayers on a mightier scale if we all pray together. I urge you, I cannot do this alone… well, perhaps I can, but the ones hurting really need more than just me for real change.

Honestly, God does not care how we say our prayers, or how eloquent we are. As long as we pray from our hearts, God hears us. So I petition that you remember to pray on IDOP for the sake of love. Revival. Peace. Pardon. Should any person be imprisoned or killed for sharing their faith? #StandWithThem

Writer’s note: I am not affiliated with or working for The Voice of Martyrs non-profit organization.  I only want to help shed light for the Christians suffering, as I have the freedom in America to do so. I support VOM through donation and also encourage you to do the same. Visit www.persecution.com for more information.

My Faith Votes: Pledging to Vote, Complex as Brain Surgery?

I stay updated with a very respected brain surgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, whom I voted for in the primaries earlier this year. I was moved by his kindness, his honesty, and his reasoning. His constant telling of ways to “use your brain” and “do your own research” spoke to me. I hoped it would speak to the others in my generation as well. I truly wanted him to be President.

Since dropping out of the presidential race, Dr. Ben Carson went on to become the Honorary National Chairman of My Faith Votes, a non-profit organization focused on inspiring Christians to vote according to their faith.

I admire what My Faith Votes is trying to do and support their cause entirely, however, I’m afraid a lack of incentive will hinder their outreach. If it is true what their website says, that 25 million registered voters who are Christians did not vote last presidential election, it’s because voters did not have an incentive to vote. It might be that they are stuck in a paradigm of thought keeping them from it. In order to understand why so many people are staying home on Election Day, we must explore the paradigm they are in, and the possible hindrances that are causing them not to vote.

One possibility is the social impact that culture has on modern Christians. Popular opinion says: truth depends on who is talking, not on one, solid source; everybody has their own way of living; nobody should tell anyone what to believe; to be American is to be free; to be free is to be free to think anything. While a Christian will usually accept the Bible as truth, today’s Christian interprets that truth through the viewpoint of popular opinion: not judging means not discriminating, loving means accepting all races, religions, and genders, and following Jesus means being free to live life however one pleases. This viewpoint, part of the paradigm, results in Christians who are without incentive to do anything but allow things to be, letting the future unfold before their eyes, without doing anything more than maybe praying a prayer for “God’s will be done”.

A second possibility that stops Christians from voting is peer pressure. Take my life for example. When I turned 18, I didn’t shout for joy that I was the age to vote. “I don’t really like politics. It’s not for me,” I said. Really, I didn’t want to vote because having an opinion meant judging, which I thought was basically the same as discriminating. As a millennial, my generation taught against anything that would impose on another person’s wellbeing. As a woman of God, the Bible verse 1 Timothy 2:11-15, instructing women to remain submissive, gave me a way out of having my own opinion, which was just going to make people mad and offend them. Most of my friends were liberal non-Christians, while my family was conservative Christians. Since I chose to be a listener, not a warrior, I was backed into a corner of silence and “indifference”. That became my reason not to vote. I chose to be silent because it was the right thing to do for my friends, for my family, for God, and ultimately, for me. Not voting meant the same to me as caring.

These two hindrances, popular opinion and peer pressure, created a paradigm of thought that influenced Christians like me to decide not to vote in the last presidential election. The danger WAS voting: if I chose to vote conservative, my non-Christian friends would judge God as being hateful because of my political stance; but if I voted liberal, my Christian family would be judgmental against me for not doing as God wants.  I did not want to give either of the people I loved the stumbling block into sin. That caused me to see voting as a dangerous act of rebellion. My status with friends and my respect with family was more important to me than one vote which may or may not matter, considering it is only one vote, anyway, so what difference does it make?

Therefore, I truly am afraid that a lack of incentive will hinder the outreach My Faith Votes wants to have. As for me, I have done my research this year and I am deciding to vote. Back in 2012, nothing felt at stake. Now in 2016, I can’t sit out of it this time, not when my freedom is in question, my faith ridiculed, and my values forgotten. The USA does still offer freedom of religion, but for how long? How many years ahead will we be able to speak about our faith in public? Tomorrow, I’m not sure. The world is changing. The nation is changing. The leaders are changing. There’s more at stake – authorities are contemplating on how to take away the rights of Christians, our rights to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and our ability to share our faith with others – and that’s why I am going to vote and my vote is going to be the conservative choice this year. I wish I had the ability to tell every Christian who doesn’t want to vote what I know, what I learned from the research I have done. I can only pray that God’s will be done…. but this time, I’m going to vote, because my faith matters.

Kat’s pledge: Kat is making a pledge to vote this November. She also wants to challenge you (if you’re American, if not, no worries) to make your own pledge.

Dare to Draw Donald J. Trump

Last week, Donald Trump came to my state shortly after I took a survey asking if I wanted him to come here. I clicked ‘Yes’. I didn’t think he’d listen. And I doubt I was the only one who took the e-mail survey from Trump’s campaign staff. He probably didn’t listen personally TO me. Who he listened to was probably a huge amount of people. But I don’t care. I want to thank him for making the effort, anyway. So I drew him a picture that I think represents who he is.

For you, my reader, I want to tell the steps on how I drew it so you can learn about my art. First, I drew a sketch from a variety of Trump pictures I found online. Using just 1 isn’t my style; I cross-reference up to 20 pictures to draw my own. I sketched the portrait on a blank piece of paper with an ordinary mechanical pencil. Then it was scanned in, outlined digitally, and shaded with an airbrush tool. At last, it was time for Kat to have it, making it look gorgeous with colors and polished lines.

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Note: I drew this picture of Trump before I saw him at the “Roast and Ride” event! Although from his outfit you couldn’t tell, could you?

Mr. Trump spoke about ending violence, political favoritism, and crime. It wasn’t the best speech I’ve ever heard him say, however, two actions he did said a lot about how he cares: he let the women of The Remembrance Project speak out on stage about their tragedies, and he let the border patrol men have a chance to say how dangerous the situation is, specifically down on the southern United States border. The danger of drugs is everywhere because there’s a major distribution center in Central Texas, selling illegal heroine nationwide. Seriously, search “The Remembrance Project”. You won’t be disappointed at the humanity you find on their website. Maria Espinoza is the Co-Founder of the project set on bringing justice to families who had loved ones tortured, raped, and murdered by criminals.  It’s wrong they have to wait for fair trials, when all they’re asking for is justice and order, so violence can be stopped.

Back to Donald J. Trump, he is more than just a candidate for USA’s President. He’s a mentor to me as I watch his campaign. He may not know it, but I notice his personality to find out what kind of man (or woman) you have to be to make money in the industry of business. I’ll admit I’ve not been good at making money. That’s bad considering my goals. But now, for the first time, my self-esteem is going up thanks to Mr. Trump. I’m a patriot again.

Donald Trump may not be popular for these facts, but he defends the rights of the voiceless, promises liberty to citizens, and loves the country enough to fight for it in his own unique way. Of course, what he’s QUITE infamous for is the flaws: rambunctiousness, big talk, and bragging about himself. Ok… Let’s get real, though. Let’s get down and dirty. Nitty-gritty. Who is flawless? Who doesn’t make mistakes? Who tames his tongue 100% of the time? How would anyone act if the reporters and cameramen cut and edited one’s words out of context? Haven’t I gotten into a heated argument once or twice? (If you know me, you’ll know, yes, I have. Maybe you know how I feel?) Donald J. Trump is human and he’s not been a politician. We also need to take note that in business, bragging wins. Bragging is the strategy to get people to look at you and your products, whether to scrutinize or out of interest, and you WIN if you have what it takes to impress them. Because when BRAGGING is validated by SUCCESS, suddenly, that’s now considered BRAGGING RIGHTS. You go from BIG EGO to BIG GAME. That’s who Mr. Trump is. He’s a big game player. As the old saying goes: “Money talks”. He wants to make the  American dream possible again by dealing with the national deficit and allowing cash flow to return to the USA and back into the American people’s pockets so they can start succeeding once again, and immigrants can start coming into a country worthy of their dreams.