Seeking Sonshine

"Not all who wander are lost" – J.R.R. Tolkien


September 2016

September 11, A Call to Battle

Many of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that crisp September morning, fifteen years ago. Time stood still. The unthinkable happened and we had no idea how to process it. We were under attack yet could not move. All we could do was stare at a screen for those of us not in the affected zones and pray. It felt so reactive and shook our core of safety by simply having a zip code in the United States of America. We saw the physical manifestation of the battle that had been raging and continues to rage in the spiritual realm.

No, not in the smoke. Although some believe that see it clearly above, and claim an angel here:

Let’s understand science’s reasoning for this.

“The experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data was coined apophenia by the German neurologist, Klaus Conrad. He originally described this phenomenon as a kind of psychotic thought process, though it is now viewed as being a ubiquitous feature of human nature. Science historian Michael Shermer has called the same phenomenon patternicity. Shermer has pointed out that our brains do not include a “baloney-detection network” that would allow us to distinguish between true and false patterns.” – Bruce Poulsen, Ph.D.

“The psychological phenomenon that causes some people to see or hear a vague or random image or sound as something significant is known as pareidolia (par-i-DOH-lee-a). The word is derived from the Greek words para, meaning something faulty, wrong, instead of, and the noun eidōlon, meaning image, form or shape. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, which is a more generalized term for seeing patterns in random data. Some common examples are seeing a likeness of Jesus in the clouds or an image of a man on the surface of the moon.” – Kim Zimmerman

The Rorschach inkblot test uses pareidolia in an attempt to gain insight into a person’s mental state.

We, as Christians, can acknowledge science’s findings, but do still choose to find a deeper meaning in life through our relationship with Christ. It is because we choose to see life through the lens of a child of God. It is who we believe we are because God’s Word says it’s who we are. 

The book of Daniel has always been one of my favorite ones because it contains so many awesome Bible stories. One lesser known one occurs in Daniel, Chapter 10.

“The prophet Daniel had received a troubling vision concerning a great war (Daniel 10:1). He went into a three-week period of mourning, fasting, and prayer. In response to Daniel’s prayer, God sent a heavenly messenger to explain the vision. However, the messenger was delayed for those same three weeks, as he explains to Daniel: “But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia” (Daniel 10:13). Later, the angel speaking to Daniel predicts further fighting: “Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince)” (verses 20–21).

I really like this article because the author  talks about how the battle is real and is happening even now. Our prayers can help change the tide of the battle.

Queen Esther and Mordecai rose against a physical prince of Persia, named Haman decades after Daniel. This article is a staunch call to prayer if there are Hamans in your life.

We can sum all of this up by recognizing that there has been spiritual warfare at least since Daniel’s time. Strategically enough, the Islamic extremists’ center seems to be located in and around what was Persia in Biblical times. We know that evil has lurked behind rulers in this world like Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden to name a few. We know that Jesus has overcome the world and all its evil empires, plans and destruction. 

“What we KNOW (1. God is good. 2. God is good to us. 3. God is good at being God.) MUST dictate what we see, or what we see will VIOLATE what we know.” -Lysa TerKeurst Uninvited

We know God is on the throne. He knows what is going on and the truth behind why it is happening in the first place. We pray for those who are our enemies, because Jesus commanded us to. We pray for our protection and fight the spiritual battles that we have been called to fight in our lives. We give praise to the One who gives us Victory through His death and resurrection in our battles. And we remember the fallen along the way and their families. 

Because one day, the last person who remembers 9/11 will pass away. What have we left the future generations to remember and memorialize what happened that crisp September day? 

How about a winning strategy and a God who overcomes all struggles and all battles?  I don’t know what battles you are fighting today, but our enemy is the same. Let us never forget this. We can join together and fight on our knees to reclaim our circumstances, decisions, lives, towns, cities, countries and world for Jesus Christ. 

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Angel and Devil on 9-11

Livin’ On A Prayer

A few weeks ago, I began my teaching career at a junior high near my hometown. It has been a roller coaster of a few weeks! 😄😁 How do veteran teachers do it? I don’t know. It is so different than the world I always knew. Corporate was safe and I was good at what I did. Then, the industry tanked, taking my office and job with it. A new chapter in my life opened up and I finally chose what I (and my awesome family and friends) prayed for and sought after for a little over a year. Yay! Thank you, Jesus! Now, how exactly am I supposed to do this and be an example and mentor to students? God, You still equip the called…right? Because…I kind of have a lot riding on that verse… 😉

It’s HARD. Hard because I am SO outside my comfort zone and doing nothing like I am accustomed to. I am not used to relying on God to show up so heavily. There, I admit it. If you looked at my choices in my life, you would probably see the pattern of a tendency to depend on myself to get things done. I know what I am capable of doing, pretty much. I recently, in the past 10 months or so, have realized for the first time (sadly) on a soul changing level that Jesus handles things better than I do. I am hard headed, okay? He has been there all this time and doing it anyway on my behalf. (Again, thank you awesome family and friends for your prayers) And here I was thinking I was so awesome and then there goes the rug right out from under me. 😁

I can get such tunnel vision consumed with whatever projects I am trying to complete at a time. It is maddening. My schedule is ridiculous. Satan’s trick is keeping me snowed under with opportunities that seem amazing all the time. Key word…seem. Not that all things are bad, they could be volunteering for a wonderful cause. However, added to a full plate already can make me feel stretched and ineffective at everything I am doing. And I forget the why behind what I am doing. Oh, and during this time, Satan also likes to help me not get enough sleep and usually throw a virus or two my way after it hits the kids. Yes. It has to be him.  Pure evil. 😈

I am more like Martha than Mary. I get worried about the details and what people might think about me so much, that it influences my actions more than connecting with people.  And seeking/following my purpose and calling. Instead, I ask for approval and favor from those that I hold in high esteem. But that is not what the heart of Jesus looks like. We are supposed to love people. Regardless of where they are in life or where we are in life. That means even when we are exhausted and weary. And when the other person is rude and clearly in the wrong (and needs Jesus in their lives, right? 😂). We need to refuel on God’s Word to help us. Approval from others, promotions and good intentions don’t even come close to finding the verse you needed right then to calm your soul at a pivotal moment. Those other things are good, but they are not sustaining. They have a shelf life that frequently expires. No matter what we do, the greatest thing we can do is love.  

Jesus said it and it is in red, so that means it’s legit. 😇 Then Paul said it, so you KNOW it’s the real deal. 🙌🏻

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 1:1–3)

If I teach these kids everything I know, it would not be enough without love. The love and patience is there supernaturally. Because I teach 7th and 8th graders, ya’ll. Enough said. (I would NEVER want to be that age again, especially in this day and age of recording and sending EVERYTHING!)

So…we look to God and ask Him for wisdom. Solomon is a man in the Bible that didn’t always make the best decisions (much like his dad, King David). But one thing he got right that made him realize what life was truly worth was asking for God’s wisdom to speak to him. 

Solomon. He completed the temple and brought Israel to the world as a powerful nation as a wise leader who had favor with God.  And then, he broke the very same kingdom because of his inability to resist temptation. His mom was Bathsheba and his dad was David. So, maybe it is not 100% his bad??

During his (King Solomon’s) reign he made Israel a world power and great wealth flowed into the kingdom. He had such great wisdom from God that people came from distant lands to here him. He taught many proverbs and wrote Ecclesiastes and Songs. Yet Solomon did more than any other king to break down the kingdom and to destroy its true foundations. His biggest mistake was in disobeying God by taking many wives, and marrying the daughters of foreign kings. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He allowed them to build altars to “Astarte” (Ishtar in Babylonia and Astoreth in Phoenicia) the fertility goddess and other pagan gods.

Let’s embrace this today, or at least take one step in that direction. Keep going when it’s hard. Trust in Jesus and His calling for our lives. Embrace our gifts and use them for the kingdom. Solomon inspires us to seek wisdom and continue seeking it, especially when we have temptation to quit. We are modern day Esthers and we are meant for a time such as this. ❤️

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