Rejoice always, pray constantly, in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Messiah Yeshua. Colossians 3:17
Hello Pact Keepers!
We see the call to be thankful often in scripture, it directs us to focus on being thankful in and through Christ for all things but sometimes its easier said then done, right now I know people dear to me struggling with the covid virus, there is unrest in my life and needs that have yet to pass, feeling grateful for anything with so much hanging over us can be hard.
I will profess this as well, when you take the time to be grateful in face of these challenges who are greatly honoring God and when you truly decide to honor God and not idolize our issues we can better see that while our problems are finite God has been here before them and will be here with us after them!
So today if you think on matters and remember all the problems and hard times you have already come through with God you will surely find old and new reasons to be grateful and give God the trust and love we are called to hold to in our walk with him. This will give us hope, resolve and new strength to wait on the Lord and shows God how we are growing in him, something that will lead to God’s favor and blessings both now and down the road.
When we choose to rest in the memory and gratitude of God’s past actions and kindnesses on our behave it helps us to remember these new moments of uncertainty or pain are usually no more then passing things and always shows us that since we are still here we have survived ALL of our worst days and can trust God to carry through the ones to come until it is our spirit’s turn to be called back to hi, even then knowing we will be grateful to see our Father at long last come for us at the end of all things of this world.
Take some time to dwell on these things Pact Keepers and until next time GOD BLESS!
I remember the scene above vividly even though its been more then two decades, my little sister and I had just finished playing “The Floor is Lava” and we needed a break after jumping all over the furniture around our living room. We decided to see what was on TV and as we skipped through the channels we I saw this scene, a giant cyborg dinosaur shooting shark shaped missiles out of it’s chest at a masked vampire that swatted it away with a blood red bolt of lightening….I was so enthralled by this admittedly bizarre thing I not a day would go by where I was not working on some kind of story again or doodling a comics in a notebook.
I was inspired.
Granted my inspiration was not just this, the 90s were such an interesting time as anime and manga began getting a real foothold in America, the internet was spilling into more and more homes rapidly and some of the best Marvel and DC content was being produced as well.
But there was something about that fight between Metalgreymon and Myotismon that seemed to seal the deal, God had filled me with more then a desire, it was a need to be apart of this custom of adding my on twist on the Creative Realm and years later I made the move to take it a step further and pledge my gift back to him in exchange for his support.
So if you want to be Creative for Christ as well my advice is to remember moments like mine, moments you knew you you wanted to create fantastical things and give them to the God that inspired you through sometimes the oddest things…Like a dragon fighting a lava duck with a butt shaped head!
Be it comics, manga (Yes there is a difference), animation, music or writing you got to start by remember what lit a fire inside of you, why is it important to you? When did the feeling that you wanted to do this not just for God but with God come? Which of your ideas makes you the most excited?
Odds are when you know these you will know where to start, so take your time, think back and get ready to move forward!
Few things can be as disturbing as silence, God’s silence most of all.
I heard a stand up comedian give an account of his experiences on the road in his line of work and he explained to the audience what he was afraid of in his job, it wasn’t getting booed or groaning when he told a joke, it was dead silence after telling one.
Likewise we as Christians face a similar situation in our walk with God. When we come God with a worry a situation or a prayer we have it in mind the idea that we will see a answer either favorable or perhaps a denial that will allow us to have closure and move on.
…..But what about those times when all we hear is silence, what are we to do when all we hear in the Halls of our strong fortress in our day of trouble is our own echoed prayers?
God’s voice is an amazing force, he can raise the dead, create a world teaming with life and direct the future but it’s silence is just as powerful, seldom will you ever feel so powerless or alone as when God’s answer is silence.
These times are distressing and if your feeling disturbed by it your not alone, the men and woman of the Bible certainly faced this and seeking God in the midst of trials and silence is a common theme in the Psalms and looking here we see an example of how we should pursue God in this time.
1. Pursue Him
Sometimes I our Wilderness journey God will test us by having us pursue him and use silence to test us or to remind us that it is the giving and not the gift we must be pursuing.
We must be like Jacob when he and God wrestled, even if it seems God intends to cripple us and then leave us behind we must lay hold of God and refuse to release him until we have gotten our Father’s blessing.
This is not to say either God is so calloused as to leave us for dead as we follow him or that we can strongarm God into doing our will but it does mean God will take us to our absolute limits for us to not only show what is really in our hearts but also to Show us what is really in our hearts.
Sometimes to help us see what we have buried under our faith God will strain it so we can see through it and uncover darkness we can chip away and give more room to our faiths and without this time of silence before God answers he will let us make room for the blessing.
Isaiah 55:6: Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near…
2. Are you willing to wait?
In silence God may be trying to help us build patience, patience is one of the fruits of the spirit and the pain that comes from silence may just be God’s time to prune you so you may receive more then you ask.
Patience is a must and eventually all true Christians will enter into a time of building for it so they can truly follow God. We serve a being unbound by time and that means we may be asked to wait for what seems like a stupidly long amount of time to our human perception of time and space or be throat into the maelstrom with no time to prepare at all and the patient endurance of these times of silence and seeking God may go far in helping you be better prepared for these times.
Psalm 144:1: Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle…
3. God might simply be trying to reconnect with you…
Sometimes it just might be that you have run ahead of God or wandered away from him and when this happens, like any good parent, God stops what he is doing and starts calling out for you or looking to find a way to get your attention so you come back to where he is at.
God will meet you anywhere your at but this reunion requires us to first realize we are lost, some of you I am sure have been in a situation when you or someone or something you care for got lost without you realizing it right away.
Its scary and frustrating and when it happens our first instinct is usually retracing our steps and this silence is what God can use to help lead us back to him.
Zechariah 1:3 Therefore say to them, Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.
In closing Pact Keeper, God is not ignoring but training you, he is seeking you actively and sometimes to test a student a teacher has to be silent to see how much they have learned and what has stuck with them from their lessons so be strong, have faith and trust that our Father’s silence does mean he isn’t there.
How to fight back in your struggles with impure thoughts.
Every Christian struggles with impure thoughts.
It is hard enough to follow God’s leadings for a more christian life in a sinful world but when that sinful world keeps catcalling and harassing you in your very own mind it can feel like your walking up a steep mountain side lined with jagged stones, each slip hurts more then a normal one would and each scrape you get wears down your stamina mentally, spiritually and physically.
The worst part of it though, the most
draining and overpowering aspect, is it is a threat that comes from
inside your own mind, it can feel either like your walls and have
been breached and the enemy has compromised your security or it can
feel like some deep rooted evil within you is speaking out, showing
your true colors, your true desires and your real alignment in this
For years, as long as I have walked
with God I have struggled with impure thoughts that make me feel
insecure in my faith and make me feel like I do not truly believe in
God’s word or accept his leading, that I am not taking to this whole
“Faith” thing with God and that deep down I am just a worldly
sinner that is, eventually, going to pull out of this upward called
The thoughts can range from violent,
sexual or even just slanderous against God and seem to pop out of no
where, it was driving me crazy that they were so persistent and that
they came from me and I would often become frustrated or panic and
spent years trying to ask God to simply remove them from me and
monitor my mind.
This led to massive mental and spiritual fatigue and this would translate into the physical as we talked about above and after these constant internal struggles and the lack of relief it would lead to backsliding and spiritual burnout.
Struggles with impure thoughts taxed me, my prayers seemed to return to me void, I felt further from God because of these intrusive thoughts and I felt like I had peaked as a Christian and that my journey may only be going so far, that deep down I was not truly chosen and Jesus would say those dreaded words to me at the end of all things.
‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
But no matter how far I felt from God
he was faithful and never far from me, I began to wonder if this was
some sort of mental issue eventually, that I was perhaps broken in a
psychological way and not a spiritual one.
It turns out it was both.
The bible speaks on thoughts that do not come from men but dark leadings that can confuse us and lead us to do things in that confusion and strife not of God, the most powerful example is when Jesus was tempted in the Wilderness. He was alone, vulnerable, hungry and without a doubt thirsty there with no visible aid from God at the time and then the tempter came, trying to fill his head with lies and empty promises and urgings to do things he knew were wrong.
Modern Warfare in the struggle.
So lets fast forward to today, we live
in a very different world in many different ways but this type of
mental warfare on the church is still raging. I had learned these
things about mental assaults from the enemy but I was still unsure
how to repel them and after a few years of studying the mind I only
had more information but no real solutions, at least not ones I
understood at the time.
The key to these impure or intrusive thoughts is that we should not do more then rebuke them and move on, dwelling on them or giving them energy in any way shape or form is how they hurt us and once they hurt us, much like a snake bite, it lets poison get in that wears us down and can even kill us in extreme cases of struggles with impure thoughts.
So here in modern times what to we
look to to give us an example of how we should proceed in these
situations? Odds are if your reading this post, spend a part of your
day or week on forums or gaming or use your phone to regularly check
your social media you know just how ugly people can be on these
things, people berating one another, posting awful things for the
sole purpose of offending others and even attack you for your opinion
or actions no matter how mundane and wholesome they are.
The answer came to me while gaming a
few weeks back, I was playing a first person shooter when I was
killed in game and instantly the other player that had got me
starting harassing and insulting me in the chat for this
accomplishment, we had not spoken before, I do not recalling having
killed him in the game as of yet he was just eager to tear me or
Now they had said some pretty hurtful
things and my first reaction was to get mad but my next thought a
second alter was….
I don’t know this person, they want me
to get offended and mad and as I thought about this the comment was
already lost in a sea of other chaotic chat interactions of people
calling for medics and alerts that someone had gotten an achievement,
it was already gone and that person had achieved nothing but looking
like an idiot and a creep and was basically ignored not only by me
but everyone else.
This was when God revealed to me that
this is a strong tool against these impure and intrusive thoughts
that can pop into our heads, if we do not respond to them they will
soon be lost in a wave of other thoughts and will have accomplished
nothing and gained no foothold because it never got any energy out
I took up this mentality for about a
week and I noticed my anxiety and depression on the matter drop
noticeably to the point I feel like I have more control then I ever
thought possible in this matter.
I know it may sound simplistic, it
basically boils down to “Don’t worry about it” but when you know
the situation and process it takes much of the anxiety off.
Jesus surely felt assaulted by the dark
leadings he faced but he remembered scriptures, rebuked the thought
and gave it no more energy, he did not dwell on it most likely, he
did not lose heart at the thought that the devil was even able to
talk to him or tempt him, he just remembered the truth, did not
bother to be shaken by the attack and let it slip away.
Pact-Keepers if Christ was a target for
temptation how much more are we? Your not a fake christian and your
no weaker that anyone else, this false image we build up of one day
becoming some unshakable person with no flaws and an easy road is a
modern idol of the church and before we can tear it town as a whole
we each need to tear it down inside ourselves.
Paul had a thorn in his flesh, lustful thoughts overtook David and Moses let his frustrations shape his actions and was denied access into the Promised Land, these great men we should learn from had setbacks with their struggles with impure thoughts, stumbled over intrusive and impure thoughts and even in all their faith and great deeds never reached a point where they were above experiencing them so do not feel like a failure of traitor for experiencing these thoughts, they are whispers from the enemy and simply hearing them does not equal sin on your part but engaging in them like a killer, dwelling on them in a longing manner like an adulterer or giving them energy and ground like a worrier will come back as sin.
Tackling it like that is what does not work for us.
Remember God, do not give the thought your energy and it will fade away and if you do not panic or linger on it and let it be lost to the sea of the mind it will become weaker each time until your can shoo it away like a fly without a second thought or pull it out and discard it like a sliver and in doing so we rest in God’s grace by not giving into worry or panic and deepen our roots of faith and our walls against these struggles with impure thoughts that so commonly assail us all.
Its in the dead of night, where is God’s love for you you might be wondering…
You have prayed from sun up and just a few minutes ago you gave another desperate plea to God.
Did God hear you? Should you have worded it better? Should you have been more specific? Are you even right with God right now?
Can you even ask him for anything? Should you……?
When God feels distant, when you can’t seem to take roots anywhere you go, when trouble follows you like your own shadow and your prayers seem to return hollow…
This means your in the wilderness.
This is a place or dry sand and sharp rocks, where scorpions and snakes all forms of demonic harassment dwell. Where loneliness and uncertainty build their webs.
We know this place best from the forty year trek the Israelites endured after fleeing Egypt. It seemed to most of them that God had done little more then save them from the frying pan to kill them in the fire.
And it was indeed God’s plan to put them in the fire because it was not until unbelief and fear were burnt away that life could once again take root among the nation of God’s people.
The same is true of his people today. The wilderness was a harsh place meant to bring faith out of the believer despite appearances. In this place you are at the fire will begin to bring your spirit’s juices to the surface, like a piece of meat, it shows what is inside.
God’s love for you is such that it must go through this process because we need to see what is really hiding inside us. To see what is living in our hearts and the wilderness does this.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. ~ 1 Peter 4:12
From the early Fathers of the faith to the Disciples and even Christ himself God has sent his people in the wilderness for various lengths to draw closer to him. He desires for us to learn that he alone is our provider and our one true solid ground. God’s love for you is not to be found in this world or the wilderness.
It is found with his kingdom, found inside of you.
So seek him even if he seems far. Though you do not know the way walk in faith and before you know it, you will be before God’s throne.
Question: What has God done for you and do you make Christian Manga?
So I wanted to make a more personal connect with you Pact Keepers so I decided to start posting some videos where I draw a bit and make some talking points on Christian manga and comics.
A big part of Christian manga for me goes back to when I felt I was the only person on Earth that wanted to see a Christian take on the popular Japanese comic style and what I found in it was…underwhelming for the most part.
The only known series were either preachy to the point of being unrelatable or robbed on real godly messages and elements by ashamed writers who had taken up a secular mindset.
That being said I have found many enjoyable series in the Christian manga genre over the years including the works of Inkhana and Calbhach’s Gameplan
…And Rejoice! Studio’s Days of Noah series to name a few but I have met several other talented writers and artists whom God has inspired.
These people have encouraged and inspired me over the years and have proven that God is indeed interested in the medium of comics and manga and is inspiring workers to go out and start planting seeds in this field for his glory and for the good of his servants.
I have been doing this for several years now and I want to work in Christian manga, comics and webcomics for the rest of my life, I feel called to feed God’s flock of black sheep who are not quite traditional Christians but also not secular sellouts.
I want to and get great pleasure from feeding God’s creative, world weary and imaginative flocks who need a safe place to enjoy their fantastic stories and appreciate God’s own creativity both in them, others and the world.
Please share this post and if you want to share please comment as well, God bless Pact Keepers until next time, bye!
To share directly to me and me alone please head over to our CONTACT page!
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsakeyou.”
If you find yourself in a hard place right now be it physically, spiritually, mentally, financially or any of the other “Allys” of life take heart Pact Keeper, our Lord only allows this that we may experience his great love for us in the storms of life, in heartache, in confusion and in pain.
This problem has likely not been with you forever and even if it has it also has an expiration date, its only purpose is to help you fix your eyes on Jesus for as C.S Lewis put it….
Take heart Pact Keeper and delve into the Lord in this time, the storm in never easy but it will pass and after that time you’ll see that light that was with you all through it is also planning to guide you through green valleys and calm waters as you go along.
Now, in the last blog we talked about David’s description of God, calling his existence in the life of his people being akin to the sun and today we will look at the second apt description in this psalm, a shield and see how this is true.
Now a shield is often portrayed as a large, metal piece of hand held armor usually with at least a slightly rounded surface to help deflect blows but in truth shields have taken many forms from small wicker weaves to tower shields as big as the wielder made of thick hard wood but the purpose is always the same, defense.
I can’t remember a single book in the bible where God does not come to at least one person’s defense…Just a fun fact.
Now like the seed lets look at the shield in a new way because while a shield is prhaps the most well known symbol of defense it, if used correctly, blocks a grievous, life ending blow but often the impact and force of that blow is still felt and its painful.
Imagine a warrior locked in battle, again and again their foe rains down heavy blows on the warrior and its all the warrior can do to make sure he gets his shield up in time to deflect and repel the blows. The shield is keeping him alive but to rely on the shield so often in rapid succession is not an easy task and between the force of their foe’s blows and the weight of lifting their shield so much after awhile it seems impossible that this can go on much longer.
But just as the fight seems lost the warrior sees their foe is losing steam, they have thrown all they have, swinging and thrusting at his head, legs, chest and arms and each time the shield is there to repel them and take the worst of it and now their relentless foe has nothing left to give, their weapon hangs heavy in their hand and all their strength to pursue is no more, they could not best the shield and now before it they are powerless to kill the warrior because of it.
Pact Keepers, God will always be our shield if we call on him in faith, often we may not even need to call on him, hes seen the danger before we do or before we can react to it clearly because no parent will watch on as their child is assaulted without a fight. But each fight is a teachable moment and like with a real shield we will still feel the impact of the blow to some degree and relying on God under a long or frequent vicious assaults will wear us out even though it keeps us safe.
Take heart though Pact Keepers, no pain we endure leaves us stagnant, each pain we suffer burns away more and more of our weakness because even when we feel weak God is making us stronger for the road ahead, God never lets us suffer in vain, no matter how awful the pain, trust your shield despite the pain, it can and will save you if you hold onto it and apply it to the areas you need protection.
So carry all of Psalm 84:11 with you this week and dwell on the many things God does for us, a universal aspect of our lives providing, among so many other things growth and protection.
God bless, until next time.
#DEVOTIONAL#GOD CARES #GOD WILL PROVIDE #KING DAVID’S FAITH #PSALM 84:11 #WAITING ON GOD
This blog has been a long time in the making, I felt compelled for awhile now but personally it just never felt right, it felt like concluding a story in the middle before the ending unfolded but if I can’t wait then perhaps its not my own desire it be written.
SUN AND SHIELD
David writes in Psalm 84:11 that….
” For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. ”
This is more then mere flattery on on David’s part, this is a man who has tasted the most bitter cups life has to offer looking past it all and seeing God unhindered by his sorrow, rejection, pain and fear, how many of us can say that, how many of us today are suffering on one spectrum or another but are bitterly cutting apart God’s character in our minds and hearts?
Perhaps these sufferings of David’s are what led him to make these claims about God. Lets explore the two symbols David has likened to God and how they reflect God’s acts and status in our lives.
#1 The Sun….
God is a sun to his people…
It would be easy to say that “God is the light our lives” and point to a bunch of other bible verses likening God to light and that just might work but thats not going to work, lets cut into the fat of what Daivd was thinking here.
God told David he was going to be a king, thats big, for God himself to hand pick you and tell you he is going to make you king of his people, his most valuable and prized possesions. God’s words were fertile ground for David to start planting dreams and expectations in, God himself declared it, what could go wrong?
But David had not counted on the fact that he himself was a seed and God had work to do on this little seed that was going to become a mighty king before it was done. The life of a seed is quite hard if you stop and think it through, your buried alone deep into the cold earth and packed tight, all you can see is darkness…
Have you ever felt like that in your life, under pressure crushing you from all sides, alone and in the dark, not a single ray of sunshine to help you grow? Yes, that is what it SEEMS like doesn’t it but the truth is even when the seed can’t see or feel the light the light is shining down none the less, the cold crushing dark can’t keep the nourishing light away and while the seed in in the ground it is being nurtured into the next stages of life, it is not beyond the light’s reach at anytime of it’s life.
The seed is torn apart next, the cold, crushing darkness is smothering but the light beckons and strengths it and the little seed heeds it’s beckon until it splits apart and takes root after gaining strength from the light and from drawing nutrients from the earth around it. In the same way despite God’s calling taking us to times of trial in the wilderness and God’s face seems hidden when he use to feel so close you felt like you could have reached out and touched him his grace and love beckon us and strengthen us to keep moving upward to him as we also draw lessons and experiences for our good from the world and situations we find ourselves in, all working together to help crack the shell around us and grow into something far better.
The struggle for the little seed does not end here however, no in fact the fight gets harder, now the seed can’t be content where it is at anymore, it knows it ca reach the sun even if it can’t see it and it no longer desires to be contained by the earth, now its struggling against the dark but the cold, dark earthen prison won’t yield to the little seed easy. I am sure you can relate, I know David could have, his time running from Saul, hiding in caves, fighting for his life against impossible odds against a foe so much bigger then he himself was in the form of saul and his army.
But despite the crushing odds, fear and despair David kept following the call of God upward to his destiny, even when he himself despaired, God never stopped helping him just as the sun never stops shining down on the little seed deep in the dirt, this went on for years though I am sure to David it felt like eternity.
Can you relate yet, either way picture this next part for me.
One day, tired, bruised, broken apart and fighting tooth and nail……The light sudden breaks through as the earth gives way and the sun hangs over you, beaming and illuminating the world where once there was nothing but darkness but now there is nothing between you and the one that was calling you upward. The seed is a sprout now, a new being and in direct contact with the sun it becomes a plant that will go on to produce a harvest and seeds for years and years to come.
This is what God was doing for David, its what he is doing with you and me, he is breaking us down and forcing us to grow the closer we strive to get to him, David could never have been king the way he was, even after this David was not without fault but the lessons he learned striving to reach God, growing under him like a seed is what was needed for him to be one of the greatest men to ever serve God.
This is how God is a sun to us, he nurtures us, strengthens us and enables us to strive upward, even in our darkest days.
I know so many, myself included who feel like we are under a similar deal with God right now like Zeke has with this person, we feel like there is some unspoken rule that the crimes of our past bind us to try and be accountable for our wrongs long after we have come before God and left it at God’s feet, that if ever allow ourselves the mercy of letting go of that feeling of self loathing we are not strong in our faith…
That is a lie though!
The enemy wants us to feel that even after repentance before God and Christ that we are not fully redeemed and in doing so it creates a smoke and mirrors effect that while we are focused on ourselves we do not see that by refusing to let go we dishonor God by calling him a liar, by not believing that God has forgiven us because in our hearts we cannot think God would forgive us if we can’t do so ourselves.
Don’t fall for the illusion the pain of regret makes, the only deal is that if you repent and ask God for forgiveness you get it, don’t pick it back up, don’t carry a piece of it with you in secret, trade your ashes for beauty and accept God’s deal of forgiveness today.
…to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
God bless Pact Keepers. 😉
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