God Is Great And Always Provides

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I can’t talk the specifics of a situation because I don’t want this to turn into a “I was pious so the Lord helped me” kind of thing, as I certainly had nothing to do with events, so it’s best to keep it in vague terms.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been under tremendous pressure from a lot of sources, comprised of people and events that wanted to bring me down, tear down everything i created and cause me despair.

At times, trials can get overwhelming. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had issues where we thought we wouldn’t come out the other side, but these trials are there for a purpose. To grow us, to help us change, to groom us into instruments for God’s greater glory.

Like I said before, it looked overwhelming, but things have actually gotten better than ever before. God revealed Himself in instances where I couldn’t have even have imagined, and putting trust in Him for His plan was the right call. It’s always the right call.

I was speaking to a friend on Saturday about the situation, and she told me about her own. It was a big trial for her, something far more important than I’ve been going through. She told me she had trouble trusting God when it came to her child because in school there’s so many influences where things can go wrong and her instinct is to panic as a mother. I told her she had to. God is bigger than the school. God is bigger than the government. God is bigger than kids going astray or bullying. We literally cannot lose. His plan will always come to pass in the greater scheme.

I hope that helped her as those thoughts helped me this last week. Big things are coming, and He is due his rightful praises. It’s a week to rejoice and love. But then, even the weeks where the trials seem overwhelming are times to rejoice and love as well.

Thanks everyone for your tremendous support through thick and thin. I appreciate it. If you haven’t yet, make sure to pick up The Blood of Giants. I’m hard at work this week  prepping Flying Sparks for print, getting The Ember War ready for next week, and going over a final pass of the trilogy conclusion. Buy The Blood Of Giants here.

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Love Everybody Always

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Kanye West earlier this year really changed my life. When he came out with several tweets urging people to say I love you, to make love the new normalized instead of hate, that spoke to me. That is Christ’s message in a nutshell and that is how we’re going to make a long-term impact that goes beyond just now.

Fights online, mobbing and attacking people… what does that do? One, it just makes everyone involved angry and resentful. Two, the optics of the situation are so bad that the person you’re mobbing against usually comes out with a bigger and stronger base of support than before because normal people tuning in see the ugliness that’s going on.

I saw Bob Goff speak last night, and his message too is to love everybody always. It’s a powerful message and he’s an extremely charismatic speaker. But it means working on it in earnest. It means reaching out. It means trying to act in good faith love and caring about people.  And not just people who it’s easy to care about. It’s simple to care and love your friends. We’re called to love people who disgust us, who make us feel weird to be around. That’s the hard part.

A movement I started has really turned into an online outrage mob, one like I’ve seen several times in different arenas from politics to sci-fi. It’s really easy to get sucked into it. It’s really easy to go out there and attack and not realize you’re part of something that’s snowballing into nasty comments, death threats, etc. We don’t see it because one, usually the direct people around us aren’t engaging in it to that extreme, and we don’t see the overwhelming combined effect it has on a person. It’s hard to notice until it happens to a friend, or to you.

For a movement to thrive and move forward for what it’s intended (any movement), it’s going to have to be about more than hate. It’s going to have to drop the hate entirely. I call on my friends, fellow creators, fans, and everyone to look at things this way:

  1. Don’t go on YouTube streams and descend into smack talk about people / gossip. The streaming’s fine, but keep it topical. It’s a bad look to have hours of content saying bad things about individuals.
  2. Watch what you post. Think about the person you’re posting about. Are they in a position where they’re hurting and you’re just making it worse?
  3. Look at your actions. Are they out of love? Can you truly say that? If it’s not, it needs to be reevaluated.

Think about it. Think about people you’re outraged at or hate. Say “I love ______” aloud. It’s weird, isn’t it? But it needs to be done. This is the only real way to affect change for the positive.

And if you see something, speak out. Say “we shouldn’t be doing this guys.” When one person does it against a mob, it’s hard. If a lot of people do, the mob is no longer a mob. It goes away.

I’m definitely guilty of not loving everybody always, but I’m doing my best to try to make a difference. We’re never going to be perfect as humans, but the least we can do is try.

Zaira and her crew try very hard to love her people, and even her enemies as she seeks a cure for the giant’s blood serum withdrawals in The Blood Of Giants. Check it out here.

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Speculative Faith Article: Let’s Talk About Sex

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Speculative Faith, a Christian magazine dedicated to SF/F writing for Christian authors had me write an article. As sex is such a crucial plot component to The Stars Entwined, I decided to write about what I’ve seen in the Christian genres, and gave my thoughts on the place of sex in fiction.

Sex is a difficult topic in the Christian book community. A lot of readers demand pure, PG or even G rated content, and understandably so. But does sex have no place in Christian-authored work?

Often, Christian readers come out with pitchforks when the topic of sex is remotely broached in fiction.

Read more here.

If you’re intrigued, do check out The Stars Entwined. You’ll be… satisfied.

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Christian-Themed Short Fiction From Superversive Press For Easter!

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My publisher, Superversive Press, has a couple of Christian-themed books out for Easter. These are top notch writers who I wholly endorse, written by very good men. If you want to read some quality fiction and keep your focus on Christ this weekend, here’s your spot. This is what’s out:

Lou Antonelli is a fellow Dragon Award nominee last year, and also contributed a story to my Mars anthology. He is one of my favorite short fiction writers out there in the field today, and his collection, In The Shadow Of The Cross, released this week:

Over a 15 year career devoted primarily to short science fiction, Lou Antonelli was unusual in that he accurately depicted the role of religion in people’s lives. In a nation and era when religion in general – and Christianity in particular – is being oppressed by the opinion leaders of America, Antonelli – who is a life-long journalist – depicted religion as it should be if political correctness in the science fiction field didn’t suppress it.

This collection gathers up stories Antonelli wrote over the years where Christianity plays a role. They range from down home and next door to far flung and in outer space. They remind us that despite the best efforts of a Godless material world, Christianity is a sturdy creed that remains a vital part of many people’s lives. 

Next up is a debut author Frank B. Luke. I had the privilege of receiving an advance copy of Lou’s Bar And Grill: Seven Deadly Tales, and he tells some thrilling tales. These are focused around the 7 deadly sins, so it’s a little darker, but Frank keeps good Christian morality throughout.

This bar has no regulars. But it’s not a regular bar.

Customers drift into Lou’s Bar & Grill with the usual broken hearts and unfulfilled dreams, but Lou knows what they want and how to serve it up for them…for a price. There’s beer on tap for the average customer, but Lou recognizes the special customers, the ones who need just a little bit more.

Sheila sidles up to the table and asks what they want. A burger? Sure. But maybe Brad also craves that hot woman who’s always turned him down. Maybe Laney’s still humiliated by her cheating ex, and she’d gladly rip out his heart.

Moe can grill up that burger, and Lou’s got beer on tap, but once they sign their names at the bottom of the order pad, they might just get the house special. It’s a bargain–a Faustian bargain–and seven customers are about to get everything their hearts desire.

Lou’s Bar & Grill isn’t for the faint of heart. Everything they want is within their grasp, but always remember that when the Devil writes the contract, he’s also in all the details.

 

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He Is Risen

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For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

This is of first importance, and don’t forget it. Jesus fulfilled prophecies, he came here for us, and he resurrected. He defeated death and evil once and for all. We have nothing to fear any longer. Go forth and spread the good news. Happy Easter!

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The Last Crusade: On Compassion and Life

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I read an article over at The Federalist today by writer Mary Vought. She brought a very personal argument on letting children have the right to live, as the New Yorker brought forth an article  by  a woman who wished she aborted her child.

Additionally, as a pro-life Christian, you can imagine the frustration I felt when reading a mother lamenting the missed opportunity to abort her sick child. As one would imagine, I had an overwhelming desire to write a response that would refute every single one of her points, making a fool of her arguments and calling into question her credibility as mother and provider for her son.

But, as I read her story a second and a third time, I began to relate to her on the one item we could probably agree on—the fact that having a child with a severe illness is scary. For her, this fear seems to have manifested into anger. She writes about mothers (like me) who choose to give birth to a CF child, “The women who willingly made choices that were never presented to me and chose a child’s suffering: Sometimes I hate them. I also hate the women who were supposed to care for me. I hate the faceless people at the lab.”

The way our culture has been set up, we worship death. Our materialism has gone so far that there are women out there who would rather kill their children than love and support them through good times or bad. This needs to change, and it starts with Christians speaking out on life. God is life as surely as any of His other qualities. Being made in His image, even corrupted by this world is something we should treasure.

As a Christian, my faith teaches me instead that every disabled child bears the same marks of his or her Creator in whose image they are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” meaning with an intent and the Creator’s seal of satisfaction. And every disability has a purpose.

In the Bible, Jesus’ disciples ask him who bears the responsibility for the blindness of a man they pass by. Jesus responds, “It is was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” That man’s blindness had a purpose, and it was to reveal the glory of God.

My daughter’s CF has a purpose—that the works of a sovereign God may be displayed someway and somehow. Time will tell. I suspect that conviction will prompt the same emotions in Gann that her conviction did in me. But is there a higher view of disability? Perhaps amidst all the pain and the sorrow, never to be minimized, that comes with enduring a disability, there can also be the hope and comfort that when the God of the universe created my daughter he pronounced his handiwork good and purposeful.

Mary says it better than I do. Difficult situations and conditions have an additional purpose — it gives us reminders to engage in prayer. Prayer is the most powerful tool in our lives and especially in our death-worshipping society, we need more of it. Paul told us to pray without ceasing, to live our entire lives as a prayer to the Lord God, and the best thing we can do for our children, even through their infirmities, do the same. God loves the sick and the weak, the way Jesus lived his live shows that. Let us do the same.

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The Last Crusade: Superseding Nationalism

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This  morning I read a lecture from a Catholic-American artist, speaking of art and culture in the context of the overall health of mankind. Naturally, he finds the current neo-Babelism of the globalists to be something troubling, but what’s interesting is he takes a step back in the conflict between nationalism and globalism and finds something more important, and something eternal:

“As much as I lament that these knots and spirals would not be found in a church nowadays except as an expression of Irishness, I lament more that a church nowadays is likely to contain no artwork at all. We are living in a time comparable to the iconoclastic crises; contempt for tradition and sacred art is encountered at all levels of the Church.

Moreover, contemporary secular society is decidedly antitraditional. Those who mass-produce and peddle its culture profit by arousing the desire for novelty; things that are made to endure or to live with can only be sold once. Its music and art exist primarily as electronic simulacra. These can be sent across the world within seconds; bound to no particular place, they go to every nation and move them toward sameness. I do not know if such things can properly be called culture; I do not know if they can even properly be called things. A similar movement toward a postnational world is made in political and economic matters. The rules of national sovereignty are reduced to legal fictions, just as the marks of cultural identity are overwritten or erased.

Unsurprisingly, this provokes a reaction. All over the world, people are concerned to protect their self-determination and cultural identity from foreign influences, from invasive ways that are not theirs. That is to say, that are not theirs as Frenchmen or Englishmen or Germans or Americans. In such a time, when nationalism provides the motive to preserve tradition, and postnationalism the motive to destroy it, it seems that anyone who is a traditionalist in matters of religion or culture or art should and must be a nationalist as well.

The curious thing, however, is that in the history of Christianity, nationalism is not an especially traditional idea. A distinction between nations certainly is as ancient as the Tower of Babel, where the language of the whole earth was confounded: and from thence the Lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all countries. But the idea that nationhood be the foremost way for a man to understand his identity, his place in history and in the world, began in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The choice presented between nationalism and postnationalism is a false dilemma; there is older way, and that is what is actually expressed in works of art such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and Chartres Cathedral. It is the idea of Christendom: that a man should understand his place in history and in the world not foremost as a member of a particular nation, but rather as a member of the universal Church. This is the way that once was maintained by the Church, and that naturally would be yet, were it not for the failure of its institutional authorities to stand fast, and hold to the traditions they have learned. Perhaps artists can take up the task, if churchmen will not, of reviving this magnanimous idea.

This idea of Christendom does not destroy the particular genii of nations, but neither does it provoke them to battle against each other. It rather establishes principles by which they may together praise the same God. Moreover, it establishes principles by which the Christian tradition may withstand foreign influences; not by barring them entry, but by converting them to its same sacred end, by staking upon whatever is true or good or beautiful in them a legitimate claim. “

He is right that our identities must first and foremost be our eternal citizenship, that of  the Kingdom of Heaven, and also that we should remember the context of our lives and purpose in these end times. What’s great about our heavenly citizenships, is that we may carry dual citizenships with our Earthly nations. Christ in his time on this Earth gave his ministry to one people, the people of Israel, though his focus was on the eternal birth of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Likewise he urged his followers not to be at odds with Rome, within the bounds Paul created most of his ministry.

I don’t think this is implying nationalism is wrong by any means, and I think it’s important tool to fight the neo-Babelists, but we do have to remember our priorities lay beyond it.

 

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Happy Crusade Day

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On this day, November 27th 1095, Pope Urban II preached the First Crusade, ordering European Christians to retake the Holy Land from the barbaric Islamic forces that had captured it. He coined probably the most important phrase in history outside of the teachings of Christ Himself, “Deus Vult!”

Celebrate this day by committing to join the Last Crusade, something science fiction author and Christian philosopher John C. Wright has put together in order to encourage us to fight for what’s right and true, in an effort to preserve western civilization and further the Kingdom of Heaven’s reach into this world. John’s stated three main points of attack are some of the most crucial things we must do as Christendom in these last days:

First, to restore the Constitution of United States, as this nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, is the sole nation in history whose founding was entirely in keeping with the Christian principle that all men are created in the image and likeness of God. This nation is born of a social covenant of men related, not by blood nor race but only by likemindedness, a brotherhood of the spirit.

Second, to restore Chivalry to men, as without the warlike yet courteous spirit unique to the Christian soldier of ages past, no man can be a true man, no wife can love and serve a true husband, no child be reared by a true father.

Third, to restore Christ to the hearts of men, and throw the godless, the impious, the heathen and the atheist from the halls of power. A Christian commonwealth can tolerate a non-Christian minority if the minority can and will abide by the civilized standard of Christian decency, monogamy, honor and honesty in business dealings, and so on.

God’s Kingdom is not something to be won by being passive. We must actively work together to restore the Church. There is no other way.

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Do Not Be Unequally Yoked

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A reader  left a  rather chilling comment on my youtube channel worth reading:

I had a girlfriend, and relationship lasted about three years. I adored her. Friendship, affection, passion, and common ground in movies and books, with lots of fun sharing…or at least I thought. One day a minority woman was pushing her around, and I saw it as a need for her to stand her ground, as she was supposed to meet with me that day, and changed her schedule after being manipulated by this woman.I should have seen this coming, but did not want to see it. I visited her church and her daughter’s church, and they were both run by women, and the guys that attended were “passive” to say the least. My girlfriend not only dropped me, but cut off all communication literally over night. It took me a couple of months to realize I had accidentally stepped on her virtue-signaling. And, she thought of herself as “traditional.” We had never had a single argument before this, and she was a million miles from bored with me, so some kind of decision was made within her inside female support group that I was not the right kind of person. Ha! Can you say “Converged Churches?” After about three months I realized I was still me and still happy. Plus, I learned how deep this stuff goes.

Converged churches can be the worst of influences. The Bible does warn about relationships, but yes it can be hard to see. But the false doctrines of SJW-isms aren’t something to yoke yourself with either–which goes for what church to attend and engage in as well. It takes really paying attention to a church and a community to see if those there serve Babel, or if they truly serve God. As he said, this goes deep, and it takes staying vigilant constantly, even when you’re in love, which is the hardest of all things to do.

 

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The Last Crusade: Deliver Us From Evil

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Yesterday when I was doing my weekly scripture reading, I found that I all too often don’t exhibit the traits describing love, which are the traits of God. It made me reflect on the fact that I also all too often have evil thoughts, and even if I haven’t act on those, a part of me wanted to at points. It is good and right to want to purge such thoughts from ever occurring in the first place, to not be led into temptation.

During the journey of our lives it’s impossible to never be tempted, to never have evil thoughts. Especially if we’re acting of our own accords. As humans, with our base selfish nature it’s going to be a problem, and one we can and must overcome.

A friend last evening struck me by putting it a beautiful way: “we are all lost in darkness, unable to save ourselves, until we realize we are in need of a Savior, and have grace given to us.”

These are very powerful words. Darkness fills this world, and it seeps into us by nature. The Devil has set up the world so it does just this. But we can’t fight this on our own, we are powerless against it excepting for the grace of our Savior.

He covers us like a blanket, or more aptly like plate armor and a shield. When evil comes at us, whether from our thoughts or from outside temptations, He can repel those away. It’s the only way to fight, but fortunately it is perfectly effective.

With this powerful knowledge there are three ways we can allow His grace to fill us, to help us hold fast to what is right and true, and by proxy keep evil away from us:

  1. Study the Word. The word of God is powerful, and the more you study in it, the more you’ll be thinking about it. The more you’re thinking about what God desires, the less you’ll give into your own desires which may conflict with His will.
  2. Surround yourself with people of faith who will hold you accountable. This is one of the harder things to do, as it can be uncomfortable. But it’s also imperative. We all too often can’t recognize failings within ourselves and rely on brothers and sisters to help us right our paths. They’ll do so out of encouragement, not out of malice, so recognize the difference.
  3. Praying for God to intervene in all aspects of our lives is always fruitful. Pray to thank Him. Pray just to say hello to Him. Pray that He might keep Himself in our thoughts and deeds constantly. It changes the world.

Just some basic thoughts for today which I hope will be fruitful for both me and you on this Thanksgiving weekend. I hope it helps. Deus vult!

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