The Future of Blogs

Times are changing! And so is the online culture. Our culture seeks quickly consumable information, and a blog doesn’t always fit neatly into that space. I see more of a move to platforms like Instagram for quick inspiration and short videos, rather than lengthy exhortations.

So I’m taking a play from my millennial daughter’s playbook, and will be shifting focus from a weekly blog to daily/every other day shorter, more quickly consumable bites of encouragement across my social media platforms. You’ve seen this already in the form of the Faith Memes I just rolled out. I’ve been getting a great response, which tells me I’m heading in the right direction.

I’d like your help to determine the future of blogs. I’ve set up a poll on my Facebook Author Page. Select your preference there – Do you want to see the blogs go away entirely and have website posts focus on announcements and events, or do you want to keep seeing them, just much less frequently? The poll will stay active for a week, so please go and vote! Your opinion is so important, because this is all for YOU!

On the matter of Faith Memes, I’d love for you to share your story or need for encouragement with me, so I can make a meme for you! See the Faith Memes page to make a submission. It’s quick and easy, and will always remain confidential.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Book Look

Hi, all! In the beginning of July, I told you I had two books I would be working on next. Thought I would use today’s blog to give you a little update on where I’m at.

My intent was to do a fiction thriller next, but God interrupted that plan, and gave me some new marching orders, which led to the non-fiction book I told you about in July, which I wasn’t ready to talk about yet. Well, I’m getting ready! Can I just tell you, God has been all over this book. He lit my mind and my fingers on fire and, together, we wrote this book in four weeks.

I know, right?

This book is incredibly near and dear to my heart, for reasons I’ll soon be sharing with you. The manuscript is with my editor now, and I just completed the photo shoot for the book cover. Those images are in the hands of my graphic artist, who will be creating a “telling” book cover. That’s a hint for you. Want more? Well, as a teaser, I’ll drop an unedited photo from the shoot, to give you an idea of what’s to come. Don’t worry, my Jesus loving friends! It will all make sense soon enough. I’ll be revealing more (pun intended) over the next few weeks. Anticipated release: October!

The second book is my next fiction thriller, What Lies in Wait. The storyboard is done, and I have officially started writing it a few days ago. I can confirm, you will definitely meet up with two characters from Stolen. Although the two books can be read separately and out of order, it will be so much more fun for you to read Stolen first! Get your copy today, so you can be ready when the new one comes out, which I’m targeting for December.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Faith Memes Launch

I’m SO excited to share the launch of Faith Memes with you! I want to hear your story. I want to know what kind of encouragement you need or if there’s something fantastic God’s been doing in your life that you want to celebrate.

I will turn it into a faith-based meme and share it on my social media platforms. Don’t worry, whatever you share will be held in confidence and your name will never be attached to the meme. I’ll respond back when I create one for your story so you know it belongs to you. Not only will you be blessed by it, but a piece of your story can touch so many other lives.

I’ll be using Instagram Stories as the main platform for these, so please visit my instagram page to follow me there! I’ll be including short video snipits on my story with some of the faith memes. You can also find a short video here, which will give you a little more information.

I hope you’ll be a part of this journey. Visit the Faith Memes Page to make a submission. It’s quick and easy, and you can share it with all your friends!

Be blessed,
C.K.

The Waiting Room Book Review

Robin Leigh Morgan is an Amazon top Book Reviewer and Blogger. Her review was unsolicited, and she did a wonderful job capturing the message and some very important perspective about the intention of the book. Her five star review blessed my heart. I hope it blesses yours as well.

Click here to read Robin Leigh Morgan’s Review of The Waiting Room

Looking Beyond

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can You get this living water?’” John 4:10-11

Despite this woman’s ignorance to the truth Jesus was trying to share with her, she recognized the well was deep. How soon she would find out just how deep. Let’s explore a little further for some interesting and healing lessons on perspective we can apply to our own lives.

We should first understand the significance of the woman being Samaritan and Jesus being a Jew. Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. It was rather scandalous for Jesus to ask this woman for a drink, because Jews held a belief that Samaritans were unclean, and they themselves become ceremonially unclean if they used a drinking vessel handled by a Samaritan. However, our Jesus knew better. He wasn’t interested in judging her for her lineage. He was interested in healing her heart and bringing her into the Kingdom, where the only label she will have is “Loved.” 

The first perspective is about whose eyes we are seeing through. Jesus doesn’t view people the way the world does. In Jesus’ eyes, He sees only the heart of someone and what can be. Of course He’s aware of our past and present but, with the power of God at work in our hearts, that doesn’t dictate our future. This is vitally important, so lean in a little.

You are not your sin.

You are not your past bad choices. You’re not even your present bad choices. When God looks at you, He sees only who you are in Him. He sees the potential He knit within you when you were in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Can you receive mercy and see yourself in this light? Can you show mercy and see others around you in this light? It’s not always easy, but we all make mistakes, and Jesus tells us we will all be judged in the same way we choose to judge others – that the same measure we use will be measured to us (Matthew 7:1-2). Today seems like a good day to start looking at people a little differently, doesn’t it?

Our second perspective has to do with how we inventory our resources. In the Scripture above, the woman told Jesus He had nothing to draw the water out with. Just like the Samaritan women, we look at our own situations and believe God can’t or won’t help us because the answer we seek requires something we don’t have. Our perspective needs to change to account for two things. The first is the answer we want may not be the answer God knows is best. The second is He has what we can’t see. God has everything and anything at His disposal the moment He needs it. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it won’t be there in His perfect timing.

This leads us to our third perspective. What we see may not always be what we’re getting. If you take anything away from this reading, I pray it’s this. When the Samaritan woman asked about the living water, she understood this to be water used to quench her physical thirst. What she was unaware of in that moment, was that it wasn’t the well water He wanted to give her, but the gift of salvation. I wonder how often we’re handed something from God, only to miss the deeper and more meaningful picture.

When Jesus told her what her current life’s condition was, He didn’t condemn her. He gave her hope and the assurance of a new life in Him. He was more concerned about who she could be than who she was. The expression Jesus used to describe the “welling up” of eternal life is a vigorous one. Commentaries say it has a meaning like “leaping up.” Jesus was speaking of vigorous, abundant life. The life he offered to this Samaritan woman is the same life He offers to you and me.

Look beyond the things right in front of you to see the bigger picture. Seek out understanding and a greater wisdom for the things of this world God uses to teach you about the things of His Kingdom.

Interesting factoid: The well mentioned in the Scripture above is commonly referred to as Jacob’s well. It’s located in Shechem, a city in ancient Israel, north of Judea. Christian sources as early as the fourth century mention a well in this area that was over 100 feet deep. In 1935, there was a well cleaned out, believed to be this very well, and it did, in fact, go down 138 feet.

Be blessed,
C.K.

See

“Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.’” Joshua 6:1-5

Wait. Stop. Go back and read that again and see if you can find what’s strange about this passage. C’mon. Humor me.

What did you see? I’ll give you a hint. It actually starts with the word, “see.”

First, a little context. God is talking to Joshua, as they are preparing to end their forty-year hiatus in the dessert, and exchange their manna for milk and honey. They are within eye shot of the promised land, but they have a big problem. Jericho was surrounded by a mighty stone wall. This wall was between twelve to seventeen feet high, and five to six feet thick. No joke. In addition, there were guards all over this wall. In order to enter the promised land, they had to conquer Jericho and its stone fortress.

The story is fairly well known. God tells Joshua he and his men are to march once around the city, each day, for six days. On the seventh day, they are to march around it seven times. At the end of the seventh round, they are to give a loud shout. That’s when God, by His own mighty hand, brought the wall down and gave the Israelites victory over Jericho.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this story and, equally, how many times I went right past a message so exciting, it has my heart racing this morning. God’s Word is truly alive.

When God spoke to Joshua, it would have made sense had God gave him instructions and waited for the dance in the end zone before confirming victory. But that’s not what He did. God said, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands…” before it happened.

Whoa. Do you need a second to process that? I sure do.

Scripture tells us God’s Word never returns void.

“…so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

Whether that’s His words given to us in the Bible, or those things He speaks to us using the still, small voice, if He spoke it, it will come to pass and accomplish whatever He set out for it to do. Really take this in with me for a second. God, in all His perfection, omnipotence, and control can, with complete confidence and authority, claim the victory before it happens.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

It’s simple, really. It’s already done. It’s already known to God. It’s like the movie He made but we haven’t watched yet. He knows every moment of every person’s life. Even the ones that haven’t happened yet. He can proclaim the victory to Joshua before they even start marching because He’s already seen it happen.

I don’t know about you, but this gives me a supernatural comfort I don’t quite know how to even put into words. It also raises a very important feeling in me. Trust.

Here’s the bottom line. If God has spoken something to your heart, believe Him. He’s already seen it play out, and what He says will never return void to Him. Go ahead and do your end zone dance before you march around the city. What a fantastic act of faith and worship your dancing will be… no matter how bad the person next to you thinks it is 🙂

Be blessed,
C.K.

Facing Away

“Then He entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.’’” (Luke 19:45-46)

Last week, we learned that when we allow things that aren’t pleasing to God into our hearts, we’re allowing them into the very temple God created as a Holy dwelling, meant only for Him. It’s important for God to hold the most important place in our hearts, but it’s also important to understand how compromising that affects our character.

As I was writing last week, I felt God asking me to go back to the passages and seek moredeeply. I put my Mac aside, pulled up my Bible app, and began reading over the passages. I had already pored over several times, but I knew He was telling me to look again, which made me kind of excited, and built an expectation. As always, He did not disappoint.

Allow me, Dear One, to ask a question that I would like you to think about for a few minutes before reading any further. Do you find it at all interesting that what Jesus used in this very important lesson, to represent the thieves in our hearts, were people who were selling items?

It’s about compromise. It’s about placing a price on what can’t be bought, and selling ourselves for earthly gain, rather than Kingdom gain. Every time you compromise any portion of your convictions, you’re selling yourself to the enemy, who comes only to steal, kill and destroy you (John 10:10). The motivations of the people in the marketplace were centered around what they could gain personally, and about what they could take from others.

What God’s showing me is that these people were quite literally and spiritually facing away from the temple. God desires us to seek His face and be filled with His spiritual blessings.

At the end of the day, it won’t be about what we can take from others, but what we can giveto others.

How do we drive out the thieves in our temples and put God back in His rightful place? It’s a choice to make your heart His Throne room. If you do, this space can’t be shared with anything short of Holy. Anything less would be an insult to His Spirit which dwells in everyone who calls Him Savior.

Ask God to show you anything that might be competing in this space with Him. Once He shows you, get rid of it without hesitation, and He’ll fill that space with more of His glory. You’ll never long for what He asked you to give up, and only marvel at how you never knew how badly you wanted what He replaced it with. 

*Please note, there will be no new blog next week, 8/10, as I will be on vacation. We all need a little rest now and then.

Be blessed,
C.K.

Thieves in the Temple

“Then He entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of robbers.’’” Luke 19:45-46

There are so many beautiful teachings and parallels that are buried within God’s Word, just waiting to be uncovered. Jesus often used parables when teaching the crowds to explain things that had a much deeper meaning. On the surface, what we read is a very practical application of living the life and exhibiting the behaviors God is asking of us. However, at the heart of these applications is usually a treasure much more valuable and life breathing. We only need to dig past the surface to find it. God plainly tells us if we seek Him, we’ll find Him (Proverbs 8:17).

In Luke 19:28-44, we read of the Triumphal Entry. This is the point in Jesus’ ministry when He enters Jerusalem, openly affirming He is the Messiah. Up until this point, Jesus allowed His actions to dictate what others knew and believed of Him. But now, it was time for a much bigger plan to unfold, at the beginning of which, was making known His true identity in God. He knew proclaiming Himself as the Messiah would anger the Pharisees and Jewish leaders, ultimately putting the plan of His very death into motion.

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, He wept over it. He prophesied there would come a time when their enemies would build an embankment around them and their children to completely destroy them. His heart was grieved because He knew they wouldn’t recognize God Himself was coming to them to save them. It was then Jesus entered the temple area and saw the people using it as a market place to sell and make money. Jesus was furious over the desecration of His Father’s house and, in righteous anger, began driving the sellers out of the temple.

Pause with me here, for we’re about to uncover our parallel. On the surface, we can easily relate to the reasons Jesus may have been angered by what was happening in His Father’s house. It was intended as a place of prayer and intimacy with God, not a marketplace filled with greed and ill intentions. However, I think there’s more here. Jesus was protecting the integrity of a physical location, but I think we can use this as an example of the need to protect the integrity of our hearts. We need to overturn the thieves we place within our hearts that rob God of our intimacy with Him.

God desires to be the very center of our being. The Word tells us Christ dwells in our hearts, and that we are a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (1 Corinthians 3:16). As imperfect people who sin, we allow desecration of the temple, today, by allowing idols that are not of God to steal precious priority within our hearts. Our God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). He gave Moses the command that we shall have no other gods before Him. When we hold things precious that don’t give glory to God, we’re allowing things into our hearts that take on the very nature of what Jesus drove out of the temple thousands of years ago.

Is there anything in your life that would make Jesus angry enough to want to overturn it?

I hope you’re encouraged to examine your heart and drive out the things competing with your heart for God. I sure am. This has to do with more than just our time with God, but the character He desires to build within us. 

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Be blessed,
C.K.

B Cells

I sometimes feel envious of those in the medical profession, who have had the opportunity to study the amazing complexities of our bodies in gross detail. Gross is probably a good word to use because all that study involves seeing and touching all the stuff on the inside. I guess someone has to carry that burden, and thank the Lord it isn’t me.

What I’m most enamored by, are all the amazing examples God has given us through those complexities, about who He is and how He works. Today, we’re going to take a look at one of those examples. B cells. I’ll ask all my medical friends in advance for their mercy as I oversimplify this, and hope we can all exchange the gory details for the spirit of the message.

When your body is fighting an illness, it’s fighting something called antigens, which are foreign molecules that don’t belong in your body. When an intruder is detected, your body’s alarm system goes off and sends special cells that fight those antigens. Some release enzymes that kill the foreign objects. Some turn on the body’s immune system and trigger our B cells to make antibodies. These antibodies attach themselves to the antigens, rendering them useless. The picture that comes to my mind is someone jumping on the back of an intruder, wrapping their hands around their eyes, and watching the chaos ensue. I imagine the intruder stumbling around, trying to figure out what’s going on, until they find themselves crashing into a wall and falling onto the floor. The antibody sits on the intruder until help shows up and halls him off to jail.

I allowed myself some interpretational liberty there, but I think you get the point.

That whole process is amazing in and of itself, but here’s something even more fascinating. Those B cells have memory. That’s right. Memory. That means they now recognize that intruder and, if he ever comes back, they know more about him, and how to fight him off.

The difficult things we go through in life can be a lot like this process. We get hit with foreign objects we don’t understand at first. Things that threaten our spiritual health. The Holy Spirit is like the cells that trigger and turn on our spiritual immune system, and our faith is like those B cells that fight against the attack. The antibody? Jesus, of course. No attack is pleasant, but once we walk through it, we learn and grow and equip ourselves to not only recognize, but fight it off quicker the next time.

Sometimes the most inspiring part of getting through a disease is not the healing itself, but what’s happening inside of you during the good fight.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jesus told us we would have trouble in this world, but He also told us not to be discouraged, because He’s already overcome them. I believe part of that story of overcoming isn’t just about overcoming illness – physical or spiritual. It’s about how you are overcoming amidst the pain of the journey, and that is what is truly inspiring.

Today’s writing was inspired by a couple I recently met, and I was deeply moved by their story. They took the terrible intruder, called Cancer, and turned it into a story of hope. Every day, since that journey began, they put out a Facebook post, “C the Good,” where they list all the ways God is good, and all the good things coming out of their trial. What an inspiration. They are vulnerably inviting people into the midst of their pain and turning it into hope for themselves and others.

Chose to be a lantern amidst your storm. Chose to be light to those around you. Be a beacon they can see and follow. In doing so, you’ll build your own spiritual immunity, and be more equipped to call on Jesus to calm the storms that come your way more quickly.

Be blessed,
C.K.