The Greatest Gift

In the Gospels, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as he arose from the water as John the Baptist baptized him.[1]  The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove according to all four gospels.  The fact that this occurred during his baptism by John the Baptist in water emphasizes the point of the importance of baptism by water because it is through the water we receive the fire of the Holy Spirit. The acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior allows us to accept the Holy Spirit into our soul.  The act of baptism unites us with Christ. Depending on your denomination, there might be a right of confirmation, which is when you publically announce your acceptance of Jesus Christ and this is when the gifts of the Holy Spirit are inflamed.  While the disciples believed, Jesus to be the Messiah it was not until after the resurrection of Jesus that Pentecost occurred.

Pentecost is a church season and is set aside for the celebration of the transference of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples when Jesus breathed on them.  To receive the Holy Spirit, one must be baptized for the remission of their sins and they shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.[2] As a Christian, we desire this gift because the gift provides us with the possibility of nine separate gifts to assist us in being used in the divine plan of the Lord. These gifts are the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, the gift of prophecy, the gift of faith, the gift of healings, the working of miracles, the discerning of spirits, the ability to speak in tongues and the interpretation of those tongues.[3] While no one person has all nine gifts, the gifts are given to us, as the Lord needs them for us to ensure his plan is fulfilled.

These gifts are used to reaffirm Christian believers and to bring new believers to Christ.  As a Christian, we are a willing open vessel from which the Lord to work through to ensure God’s will is done. As Christians, we must be dead in order to live in Christ.[4] Therefore, this means we give up our flesh and earthly desires to become empty vessels that the Lord can use to fulfill his divine plans. The Holy Spirit is not only seen in the New Testament but also in the Old Testament.  When God spoke, it happened.[5] The manner in which things were completed was through the Holy Spirit.  In the Trinity when we discuss the Holy Spirit, it is an important part of the trinity because it is the action-oriented part of Trinity.  Where God and Jesus exist so does, the Holy Spirit performing the actions ensuring the divine will of the three in unison is accomplished.

McGrath describes the Holy Spirit as the wind, breath, and charism.[6]  He uses the wind to describe the Holy Spirit for its strength, uncontrollable nature, and ability to move. The breath is in reference to Adam when he breathed life into him.[7] Therefore, the Spirit lives in us from the time of our creation. However, it is not until Baptism and Confirmation do we receive the full power of the Holy Spirit.  In the beginning, the breath leads us in the direction towards cross and God but we must be quite and listen for its prompting. The charism is the ability to perform tasks that would be impossible which we see as part of the nine gifts that can be given to a believer if they are willing to receive them. McGrath discusses Hippo’s logic about the Holy Spirit in regards to the consensus on the Trinity.[8] The focus of the discussion of the logic is based on the need and importance of love within the Christian life.  Hippo laid out that the greatest gift can give someone is love and the Holy Spirit.  Because of these two great gifts from God, then it could be concluded that the Holy Spirit is love.[9]  The weakness of this argument by Hippo according to McGrath is that the Holy Spirit is like that of a substance that unifies the Father and Son with believers together.[10]  The weakness in placing a description and understanding of what the Holy Spirit is that we describe it with what we know.

Therefore, any description made by man will be inadequate to express the being of the Holy Spirit.  It becomes more complex when unifying what it is with the Trinity. Any attempt to describe how the trinity works together being one of the same beings leads towards modalism, which is the belief that God is one person who has three separate modes in which he engages with individuals.[11] While this mode of thinking helps explain God in a logical manner that can be grasped and understood, it fails to identify God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit as separate unique beings that are three but one. Understanding the greatness and unexplainable nature of the Trinity is key to understanding that our personal relationships with the three Godheads are important as Christians.  The Holy Spirit is the fire that lit up Jeremiah when he would not mention God’s name or speak any more in his name.[12]  God’s word was in his heart and a burning fire shot up his bones and he was weary but he could not hold back God’s words.[13]  We know all are blessed with that fire in our hearts to speak and “just be” for God. The sacraments of baptism and confirmation ensure that the fire is ignited. We receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit to fulfill God’s will here on earth.  We are made in the image and likeness of God.[14] That image had life breathed into us.[15] This life that has been breathed into us is ignited by the fire of the Holy Spirit.  Like a parent, God gave us life by breathing the Holy Spirit into us to lead us to worship him.

A Christian can see the Holy Spirit today as the ultimate gift from God being shared with us.  This love is like no other love we have ever known in our life.   We are able to display aspects of this love through the gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. As a Christian, we are all broken.[16] While broken we are made whole by being united in communion with God and therefore are asked to be a living sacrifice which is transformed so we may be a good, acceptable and perfect for the will of God.[17]  Our brokenness has made us whole and with the flame of the Holy Spirit, we are able to be fishers of men and bring others who are broken, into the body of the Christ, which is one of the greatest gifts one can give to another.[18]

[1] Luke 3:22, Matt. 3:16, John 1:32, Mark 1:10 KJV

[2] Acts 2:38 KJV

[3] 1 Corin. 12:7-11 KJV

[4] Ephe. 4:22-24, Luke 9:23-24 KJV

[5] Gene. 1:3 KJV

[6] McGrath, Alister E., Christian Theology: An Introduction (Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 228.

[7] Gene. 2:7 KJV

[8] McGrath, Alister E., Christian Theology: An Introduction (Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 251.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid. 244-245

[12] Jere. 20:9 KJV

[13] Ibid.

[14] Gene. 1:27 KJV

[15] Gene. 2:7 KJV

[16] Psal. 51 KJV

[17] Roma. 12 KJV

[18] Matt. 4:19 KJV

Religious Understanding and Growth Over The Season

It is my prayer that the Lord has blessed you with a beautiful enlightenment and peace this Christmas season. I found a deeper enlightenment period during the Advent and Christmas season than ever before. The week of Christmas was extremely hard.  I found that the only thing that got me through it was the Lord.  I was limited to my chaotic bedroom with no engagement from another human being except the occasional two-minute visit from my husband.  On Christmas, I received no text messages, no visitors, and no presents.  I stayed in bed and stared at the bedroom ceiling wondering how the dust collects and maintains itself with the force of the air moving from the fan.  I finally was able to leave my room on Christmas evening once my husband’s children went to bed.  I was able to make our traditional chip beef on biscuits.

I made homemade biscuits, which was a joy.  It was a joy to be able to talk to my husband.  What allowed me to make it through that time was the midnight Christmas Eve mass at church.  It was an honor to be part of the changing of the Alter during the mass to signify the change of the season from Advent to Christmas.  A reverence and peace comes when you enter into the chancel.  As I entered in to change the alter linens it became very quiet.  A peaceful silence.  It seemed while changing the linens there was a peaceful rhythmic movement as we changed the linens from purple to white.  I felt as if I had been in the silence for almost 20 minutes when we were finally completed.  In actuality, though we had only been in the chancel about five minutes and the organ was going at full volume.  It was a blessing to be able to have participated in that activity.

I have made the leap on prayer and faith to go and obtain my third master’s degree. Like all positives and blessings roadblocks remain.  I found out today at I owe 1874 dollars to my old university for leaving the class.  Normally I would be ok with this but right now with little money coming in this is one bill that I cannot afford.  I admit choosing which bills I am going to pay each month is difficult.  Because inevitably I end of being late on some and not on others that leads to late charges and never-ending phone calls for payments.  I continue to pray that the Lord will provide me with the means to get a job that will help me pay my bills better than what my current situation is or provide me with a viable solution.  I am trying to see this as a way of me developing a relevant relationship of understanding between others and myself as I work towards sharing the Word of God. I pray for the Lord to provide me with a means to repay my debtors for when I have more I shall give more unto the Lord.  Luke 7:40-43 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?  Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

As the year ends, I have been blessed to find the Lord again and hear Him.  Like most millennials I was for a good part of my teenage and twenties stuck in a religious strife being headstrong in my desires of wanting to understand and know more but wanting to fit in with modern society so I could become my own.  The love I found for ritual and fellowship I thought I had found in the masonic orders.  However, after returning to the Church I found a true happiness and peace that can only be found in Church.  I have discovered on my own the demonic nature of the masonic orders.  The oaths on holy books, the proselytizing that they are not a religion but not holding up the men and women in their organization to attend religious services.  Men and women whether knowing or not give up their religious fellowship with one another in Christ when they meet and perform their rituals.  While the members donate millions to non-profits and help their community the underpinning of the organization lacks Christ.

Organizations like Hamas do charitable work to their brothers and sisters but the underlining of them is a terrorist organization.  Masonry is no different.  Many individuals I meet in these organizations I had known over 13 years of my life and once I broke away from them I was, informed vial rumors were spread about me to defame my name and character.  Grown adults older than me by a generation or two were spreading gossip, rumors, and lies about someone half their age. Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.  I fail to see how this is Christian or on their terms of good moral character.  I believe that the masonic lodges are the playground for Satan’s demons.  That once you turn away and go into the Light of Christ that they become angry and hostile.  I realize that when I speak of this many of my masonic acquaintances will be upset and tell me how I am misinformed.  However, after 13 years in multiple organizations and spending almost 6 days a week in various meetings performing various rituals and spreading the word of how masonry was not evil. I can tell you from my own personal experience the truth about how Satan resides in the lodge room. If you have doubts about your masonic activities and question if its morals are what the Supreme architect really intended I encourage you to email me.  I can share with you my experiences, pray with you, and assist you in seeing the God’s true path.

To provide you one insight I had as I was leaving the lodge I found this.

1 Kings 7:14 He was a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. – Also known in the masonic world as Hiram Abif. Masonic religious context is wrong.  He was not an architect but a brass worker.  He sent his architects to work on King Solomon’s temple.  He was not killed for not releasing a great secret but instead buried in a sarcophagus in Qabr Hiram.

Joshua 24:14 – Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

May the Lord bless you today and for the year ahead, I pray you find peace and happiness in the Lord’s path for you today.

Veils and Demons

In the recent weeks I have begun to have a greater reverence for the power of prayer.  With this reverence I have begun to take to the old tradition that most Christians in other countries follow by wearing veils during services and prayer.  But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. (1 Corinthians 11:5-6 KJV).

I have seen people healed through the power of prayer.  I have also seen demons cast out by the power of prayer.  Demons are real.  They exist.  As children we are told about demons and the devil but with the advancement of the church into the modern era, the Church has deemphasized the aspect of demons, satan, and hell.  The church has been teaching that God is a forgiving God and will forgive you of all your sins no matter how many.  While this provides us comfort at the time of our death it deemphasizes that true forgiveness.  Luke states in Acts 26:18 KJV To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.  While God forgives we must keep moving toward his glory and salvation.  To receive forgiveness and to continue in sin is choosing sin.  It is not choosing the power of God and therefore true forgiveness is not received.

Demons live off our sin.  They build strongholds in our souls and prevent the power of the Holy Ghost from really working to his full potential. Deliverance ministry is important.  I have seen demons cast out of people and admittedly it is frightening.   No one wants to admit they have strongholds that demons reside in.  Going through deliverance ministry I find the hardest part for me to be willing to sit down and have the demons cast out is the fact that they show themselves.  I do not want to know that their there. I am a good person.  I care for others.  This is not me.  The fear is what happens if it takes more than one session.  Why would I want to experience this all over again?  At some point I will muster enough courage to sit and have my soul examined and cleared but it does not mean that there is fear about it.  A great deal of deliverance ministry is trust.  A trust that the Lord will help you, that others in the room that pray with you will not judge you  and that your priest will be able to assist you in your deliverance.

For deliverance to be successful change must occur.  For mine it is removing myself and my belongings from multiple organizations I have spent almost half of my life participating in. I have lost friends that I have had for over 15 years.  I had had rumors spread about me to villainize me for leaving.  Although this occurs I have found peace in being at church and on holy ground much more so than in lodge rooms that try to emulate that peaceful reverent feeling.  Debate runs heavy in the Christian churches whether these organizations belong to the occult because of the good works the organization does for children and the community.  My church has found these organizations to be part of the occult and for good reason.   In James 5: 12 KJV  But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. By taking an oath we have bound ourselves to following charges and commitments that might someday be contradictory to the Law of the Lord.  Why would we put ourselves in that situation?  The organizations require members to take oaths on Holy Books that require men to submit to having their throats cut in secrets are revealed.  Everything in the house of the Lord is open and no secrets are hid.  Therefore these organizations although claiming to be fraternities are contrary to the Christian Church’s teaching.

Therefore I pray and keeping with God’s word I veil myself while praying and while being in the church. Demons are real and the spiritual warfare that occurs in this world that we do not see I believe is real.  Thus to ensure my prayers are pleasing to the Lord and my worship is pleasing I choose to veil to ensure a holiness and peacefulness is maintained in my personal worship with the Lord.

#BreatheFire For What The Lord Has Set Forth For Us

#BreatheFire is an internet meme that was started by a women who was upset at the situation for Anna Duggar. At the end of her open letter to Anna Duggar she vows to teach her daughters to think they breathe fire. Her complaint is not with Anna Duggar but those that raised her. She believes that Anna was raised to be chaste and holy. She was raised to be devout to her husband and be a good mother. The issue becomes as the mother points out that for everything she was taught she was now bound to a man, Josh Duggar, who was not honorable to what he was taught. We all have heard over the past year the hits the Duggar family has taken in the media for the less than Christian actions that have taken place in their lives separate from their TV show which expresses their deeply rooted Christian values.

As a Christian woman I live in two worlds under the oppression of the feminist movement. As Christian women we are obligated to live out our Christian values and fight the feminist agenda. The feminist agenda was not all bad. It gave me the opportunity to wear jeans and pants without being judged. It allowed me to take a technological job which is often dominated by males. It also allowed me get a higher education. Most importantly it also allows me to stand up and #BreatheFire for my Christian beliefs and values. I would like to imagine I #BreatheFire for God and Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Similar to Joshua.

Joshua 10: 10-12
10 And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms.
11 And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.
12 And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.

I can be a servant to the Lord and be strong. I can be a strong women and put on the armor of the Lord and still serve the Lord and my husband (Proverbs 31:10-31). As I see the Duggar situation, I see Anna as being strong. She stands by the head of her household. She is represents the true idea of the #BreatheFire movement at this moment in time. How many of us Christian ladies would stay? How many of us would stand by our husbands in the face of his sins? As Christians we must remember in these times we must stand together and pull up our brothers and sisters and assist them in repenting for their sins. For it is the sin we hate not the individual committing the sin. Sin is real and hurtful to families and individuals alike.

As a parent I am in charge of assisting in the raising of a four year old little girl. I will teach her to #BreatheFire. Not for the feminist movement but for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To be a warrior for Christ. I will teach my son the same thing. Although we are all sinners  it was through His death we are able to be saved and forgiven. We shall be warriors, my family, for the Lord. Therefore we #BreatheFire in being warriors for our Lord. How will you raise your children? Shall the Word guide your life and its decisions? As parents we should teach our children to #BreatheFire. #BreatheFire not for the ideas of what our society teaches us but what for the Lord has set forth for us.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Let My Mouth Be Filled With Thy Praise Part II

This week’s Gospel readings from the Book of Common Prayer 1928 edition are from St. Luke and his telling of the crucifixion of Jesus. The reading from today is St. Luke 23rd chapter verses 39 through 49.  One of the Roman soldiers challenged and mocked Jesus asking the question that if was truly the son of God then why did he not save himself?  Although a Roman soldier a man rebuked his fellow soldier saying that Jesus’s killing was wrong for he had done nothing wrong. Feeling ashamed and believing he asked Jesus to remember him when he went to heaven.  Even at the end Jesus was converting individuals into believers.  Jesus stood till his final breath fulfilling his mission and beliefs.

Would we do that today?  As Americans we watch in horror the outside world has become.  We watch the endless videos of ISIS beheading Christians.  Yet once we see the video we will turn the channel or go get something to eat.  If Christians make up 2.18 billion of the 6.9 billion individuals in the world, why is it that we cannot mobilize ourselves to protect our beliefs and fellow brothers that share our faith?  Why are we allowed in our country to watch hate crimes based on the religious intolerance of others? As one of the leading countries of the world, why as a Christian nation do we fail to do what is right in the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ?  I on average are at Church four to five days a week.  I spend three of those days in some type of religious service.  We pray for the state of our nation and for the state of the Church yet what are we actually doing about it?

As the outside world drastically changes we become scared and fearful of what our friends, who are not strong about their religious beliefs, will say to us if we share with them about our faith.  We hear words as being a Bible Beater, Religious Nutcase, and Crazy. Therefore we ignore the opportunity to share our faith denying the opportunity for someone to possibly find a closer meaning to God. Isaiah 41 verse 10 states Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

We all have the power to change individuals’ lives and possibly bring them back to the Lord.  We are all disciples.  As disciples we are expected by the term alone to help to spread the teachings of another according to Webster’s dictionary. As disciples the most important tools we have are prayer and the Holy Spirit.  To ignore either is a failure on our part to be prepared to be open willing vessels for the Holy Spirit. This is not an introvert or extrovert issue.  As an introvert I have spent most of my time tucked away from others because of the serenity it provides me. Not until recently decide that I could be a disciple with my own gifts. I share my word through blogging, Facebooking, twittering, and having small one on one conversations with those in need.  I do not go door to door asking if they have accepted God into their heart.  Some people can do that I cannot.  I can however go into a hospital waiting room and talk to people who are upset and alone.  I can talk to them gently about God.

In a world where we spend so much time either wanting to be noticed or to be overlooked as Christian Disciples we have no option.  There is only one truth and responsibility.  We are expected to plant the seeds of truth in everyone we touch.  We spread those seeds through our actions, thoughts, words, and deeds.  Have you spread those seeds today?  Pray often for not only does it provide comfort and focus for you but also provides you the opportunity to allow God to speak to you which you can then share with others you talk to on a daily basis.  Christianity is not a check box designated for service only but should be a daily, moment by moment, activity that courses through our veins to share about daily. Remember to share your joy with others because it brings joy to the Lord. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers. 3 John 3-5.

Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church; That we all may be one. Grant that every member of the Church may truly and humbly serve you; That your Name may be glorified by all people. We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons; That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments. We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world; That there may be justice and peace on the earth. Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake; That our works may find favor in your sight. Have compassion on those who suffer from any grief or trouble; That they may be delivered from their distress. Give to the departed eternal rest .Let light perpetual shine upon them. We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy; May we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom. Let us pray for our own needs and those of others. Amen

Let My Mouth Be Filled With Thy Praise

Psalm 71

2 Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.

Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth.

By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.

I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.

Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.

9% of Christians have a biblical world view as of 2009 (Barna Group, 2009). 9% 2,184,060,000 Christians in the world is 197,000,000 .  That is roughly equivalent of the Christian populations of the Brazil and half of Ethiopia. In the United States in 2010 we had 246,780,000 comprising of 11% of the world’s Christian population.    What is the biblical world view?

The biblical world view is the foundation of a world view that starts and ends with God. That as Christians we believe that in the timeline we are somewhere between the beginning and the ending of the world.  The difficulty with believing this is that there has to be some faith that Gods word is a record of what happened.  Scientific theory can often conflict Biblical world views but are often found to be not credible the deeper scientist study our origins.   Thomas Bacon who developed the scientific method had a biblical world view.  The simplicity of the scientific method was created by Bacon to simplify discovery in a rapidly changing world.  If one accepts the biblical world view then the scientific method brings about order and a deeper understanding of the mystery and wonder of God.

The Lord is the reason why we are here. Acknowledgement that He is our Creator that He will always deliver us from those that consider us monsters of this world.  Trust, hope and praise must be shared to bring Christ’s lost back into union with us.  Not compromising but igniting the fire and passion through the power of the Holy Spirit to stand apart in the Christian faith. The 9% must stand up and like the Jews that brought down the walls of Jericho must in a loud voice call among their brothers and sisters in Christ to stand for the Word of God.  The truth sets us free.  Seek and ye shall find the truth one so desires and a peace like no other in the House of the Lord.  We are called in Psalm 71 to praise the Lord and glorify him daily in all our words and actions.  I encourage you to speak in the name of the Lord his truth and magnificence.

The development of oneself as a Christian and speaking to the delight of the Lord is a personal ritual that must be developed and explored due to the individual nature of the ritual it becomes one’s own personal praise and worship session with the Lord. We will falter but we will get up and continue on because with the support of our brothers and sisters we share each other’s burdens and triumphs.  Because they are for the glory of God. Praise be His name Our Creator and Redeemer.  May you grow in your trust and faith in the Lord and sing out your praise to Him today.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, who hast given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee; and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in thy Name thou wilt grant their requests; Fulfil now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of thy servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of thy truth, and in the world to come life everlasting. Amen.

Resources

Group, B. (2009, March 6). Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years. Retrieved August 17, 2015, from https://www.barna.org/barna-update/21-transformation/252-barna-survey-examines -changes-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13-years#.VdHt2vlVjp4

How Old Is Your Heart?

Life is hard.  It is harder being a Christian now than it ever has been.  The looks and stares we get from individuals in crowded restaurants as we sit and pray.  How before my recertification exam I stood in the women’s bathroom and recited out loud the Lord’s prayer accepting the fact that I was not prepared to take it much less pass it.  Women coming out of their stalls to star at me as I looked in the mirror and continued to pray.  Not one person joined me.  So as I am sitting in the testing room I get to question two of the exam and I look up and told the Lord that I was at his mercy and his will be done.  I do not remember anything after that.  For an hour I apparently finished my exam.  I was recorded and video tapped.  When I finally came to I was on question two of the survey questions asking me if I was male or female.  I finished the survey questions and the results came up.  I was nervous.  I do not remember anything about the exam or any of the questions.  I was told I took it but I do not remember it.  The minim score I needed to pass was 750.  I scored exactly 750 when the results came up saying I passed I got down on my knees and prayed.  By passing I was able to keep my job which is the only source of income for our household.   It was truly the Holy Spirit who took and passed that exam.  I was the vessel He was working through.

So I been talking about my experience with friends and family.  Some under the sacred canopy and others not so much.  Those that do not attend church I have found to they just sum it up to me being smart and putting actual thought aside.  That I just allowed my brain to process the information from long term memory and was doing active recall.  Granted scientifically I would normally use that to explain the reasoning why individuals can often pass exams during high stress times however I argue in this case it is not.  I had no idea about the information being presented to me since the exam I took last time and past was four years older.  Between the walking pneumonia and outside family stress I was a mess to even get myself into the testing center.  My church family has been relatively supportive of my explanation of the experience.

I was reading an article that that explained the millennial nones and developing a religious sociological discussion for the groups.  For Atheist they developed the image of sacred rain boots.  The significance of this is that it is a description for the boots is that they are developed by the interactions they have with those that are religious.  The authors describe the world to be muddy in the eyes of atheists and how they interact with the religious helps them traverse the muddy world made by those that are religious.  To me the sacred rain boots are a barrier from the larger population in general.  From my experience though in general individuals are always partly atheist. Not everything we do say or see is from God.  Is this right?  NO.  But in a majority of the population science has overwhelmed the religious community and taken the fun and mystery out of life.  Believing in religion is like going back to the joy of being four years old and discovering the world for the first time.  As good Christians we should always have the heart of a four year old.  The problem is that we look down on that mystery and awesomeness as a negative experience.  In a world where internet is like the world’s biggest library nothing is ever a mystery anymore.  Our children grow up way to soon and as parents we encourage them to explore and find answers way before they should.

I believe that is why I have some much fun being at church.  There is no quick and easy solutions.  There is mystery and awesomeness all around it.  I have begun to surround myself with friends who think and feel the way I do.  We are returning to our roots and enjoying the mysteries of this life.  I have spent years in academia in both the sciences and arts.  I can say as an academic I love playing in the mud.  As Christians we should encourage others to come out and play with us and share in the innocent joy of fun once again. As Psalm 96 tells us O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. I pray your week may be blessed and fruitful.  Remember to pray continuously for both your joy and sorrows for our voice is a joy unto the Lord.

For Joy in God’s Creation

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold 
thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in 
thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, 
thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.