Palm Sunday Should Shake You

Christians around the world have/are celebrating Palm Sunday.  The following week, is “Resurrection Sunday.”

Currently, the entire world is experiencing shut down from a pandemic, that will have churches closed for what the traditional Catholic-parented denominations call “Holy Week”.

It’s a cruel spiritual irony.

Let’s start reading in Matthew 21

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.  Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”  And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Jesus sends two of his disciples into town to collect a donkey for him to ride on, the Disciples go out and get it, everyone is having a good time, they’re all praising Jesus and calling him the King of Kings, putting their cloaks and palm branches on the ground for the donkey to walk on, then Jesus gets off the donkey and begins wrecking havoc on the temple grounds.

To be fair, people needed to have sacrifices available to give to God for their sins.  Why not be convenient, and sell them right there in Temple?  I mean your church has a coffee bar right?  You can buy the coffee you don’t make the time for on Sunday morning, right?  Same concept?

No.

They were selling with wrong motives, they were taking advantage of each other– they were taking God’s name in vain.

The third commandment, should be one of the most powerful commandments adhered to as the Body of Christ.

DO NOT MISAPPLY THE NAME OF GOD.  ((Exodus 20:7))

To the Church, the most important part of Palm Sunday is NOT when Jesus is declared King by the people, we all know who He is and worship him as the King of Kings.  It’s when He immediately gets off the donkey, and angrily drives out the people in the Temple defiling it.

What kind of church do you attend?

Do you believe God doesn’t judge His people?

Do you practice deceit and cultural relevance in order to draw people in?

Do you charge people to attend the functions your members are encouraged to attend that is not opened up to the public?

How many denominations insists that only Pastors should know the Word of God in depth, and does not teach it’s congregation to explore the Word of God for themselves?

How many churches around the world willingly profane the name of God, and the people not knowing any better blindly follow it?

If you truly believe in Jesus, are you willing for him to crash the party?

There are members of the Body of Christ who do not believe in the active gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Thereby silencing the active and living Word of God in their body, effectively pursuing worshiping God by their own philosophies and religious system.

There are members of the Body of Christ who do not believe all of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are in use today, thereby silencing the Prophets God sends them to correct their behaviors.

There are members of the Body of Christ who misuse the active Gifts of the Holy Spirit, running around prophesying in God’s Name, and interpreting for themselves what his word means.

Still yet, there are people so in love with the concept of the Holy Spirit, they make a mockery of him through the actions of giving themselves over to whatever spiritual possession could happen to their body.

All around the world, the Internet is muting the voice of Christianity so their own platforms can be heard.

It is no wonder the plague is happening right now, there is so little bearing on what the Church believes and the Body is not unified.  All the while the World is effectively taking it apart.

At the end of this plague, how many people will go back to church, after attending an online service?  How many are not even watching online services?

How many are actively meeting with the Body weekly for Bible study?

How many are checking in on the people who are supposedly apart of their fellowship groups?

How many people are being left out, wildly losing their minds in the uncertainty of our current times?

Today, on Palm Sunday, reflecting on the coming of Christ, what kind of shape is the Western Church in, and what would GOD say of our congregations if we all received a prophetic letter, as the seven churches did in Revelation?

Jesus is coming again.  People all over the internet are trying to figure out where we are in the End Times, watching for the Beast, for the Mark of the Beast, making sure we’re warning people not to take the Mark of the Beast, worrying for ourselves what the Mark of the Beast is…..

None of these things matter nearly as much as OUR personal communion with Jesus Christ, and where our hearts and our local body of Christ is at with God.

There are far too many churches caught up on being ministry to everyone outside of the church, they forget to minister to the people INSIDE of the church.

If this is not your church, great!  I am so glad your congregation is taken care of.  I myself have yet to find a body of Christ that ministers to EVERYONE in their church, and doesn’t push out those who are different from them, offering an alternative perspective to their denominational teachings.

Receptivity to God is vital.  And instead of Worshiping God and calling out to Him to heal us and heal our land with Jesus Christ, many of them are waiting on a vaccine.

It’s ironic WHO uses a snake on a staff.  Jesus was lifted up for us, and looking to GOD as our healing, hope and salvation, instead of the Snake on the Staff the medical community uses, is going to weed out the Wheat and the Tares as we come together again when our church doors open, to find out who is still here, and who has lost Hope in Christ.

Are YOU watching the numbers they project onto the screen, in fear and trembling? Wondering if you’re going to die with the rest of them, because your faith is misplaced?

Is your Faith solidly in Jesus Christ, and people mock you because you’re not taking this seriously, because you know GOD is greater than disease, and He’s already got the End in sight?

Chaos. Confusion. Hate. The internet is full of dividing us against each other, waiting on the World to find an answer to it.

GOD is clearing house.  The I AM is calling His people out.

We have set up idols in our households.  We worship the doctors who treat our family.  We worship the medications they give us.  We worship the vaccines they inject into our children, thanking them for caring for our Offspring, and we berate anyone who doesn’t worship the medical community for the God-send they are.

And during this plague, GOD is asking of US, WHO DO YOU WORSHIP?

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so also must the Son of Man be lifted up – so that anyone who believes in HIM would have eternal life. ((John 3:14-16))

Whatever you believe about the medical community doesn’t stand against the power of the God of the Universe who has already determined who will live, and who will die during this curse against Humanity.  The only thing He has asked of us is to BELIEVE he is who he says he is.

 

Stress Undressed

There are few words in life that accurately describe the emotional train wreck women experience during motherhood.
Currently,  stressed and anxious, I count down the days to my daughter’s birth.
Today, we learned that she’s breeched. I have one week to help manipulate her into turning, and if she doesn’t, I’m scheduled into an appointment for an inversion. The determination to get her to flip first is pretty high– as I’m avoiding a c-section at all costs unless it’s absolutely necessary. 36 weeks and 2-4 to go, I’m so ready to be done.

The absolute delight of being published is not lost on me, nor the anticipation for more opportunities to put together other anthologies with my dear friends and peers in Den of Quills.

However, current circumstances in my home have brought about the worst in me, creating despair.  Causing utter betrayal of my Game Face, ripping doors open to reveal the chaotic winds of “what if” that blow at hurricane strength in my heart.

Any semblance of Sanity I might produce gets formed to the written page in stories of free and frivolous characters.  My latest being Keegan Brand and Farah.  Ever since these two paired up in my imagination for the DoQ anthology,  more stories and adventures desire to be told.  They’re fun, new and interesting,  which has been refreshing in the midst of Life.
We all need a bit of therapeutic indulgence from time to time-though I wish very much that Trillian and Yulissa would spark my Muse again as they are currently waiting for an episode to finish!

The Cast of Eldegras sit quietly in their green room, waiting for me to pick their series back up as well.  High Fantasy, fully plotted out, with well defined world building finished, and character plots, sub-character plots, supporting cast…..  All of it hanging in the shadow, waiting on me to have the courage to produce it.

Priorities align when you set the emotional roller-coaster aside and allow yourself to decide what is most important.
In writing, the self-doubt and lack of confidence that creeps in can hamper your desire to produce what you love.
Will the fear of rejection put your stories on a shelf in your brain,  where no one else will ever experience them?
Will the efforts you put into your books be lost when you watch enthusiasm for your stories die out?

Right now, life in the Villa-Smith home is filled with uncertainty, worry, doubt, anxious anticipation– so many things are happening or waiting to happen.
I’m allowing the circumstances to dictate how I feel in a given moment,  which in turn separates me from doing the things I love most.  Writing of course, being one of them.

Don’t let your stress do that to you.  It’s not worth it.  If you have a hobby you absolutely enjoy,  the core of your being thrives on it, don’t ever back burner to Life.  Use it in the quiet moments to unwind and unlock what you’ve been holding onto.  Pursue Yourself in the stillness when you can hide away in time to yourself. Make a point to not think about the things going on outside of your control,  and just hold on to focusing on You.
It’s difficult,  but after a while, realizing that you and your sanity are more important than your circumstances will help to make the most of every quiet moment you have.

~ * ~ * ~
36 weeks pregnant with my second child, a newly published author, and a frazzled housewife raising a toddler, I do hope that my goings-on inspire you to push through and accomplish your dreams.  There are no excuses, if housewives with young children can do it, so can you.

Death In The Family

I am part of the vast population who had a disconnected family.  While my immediate family was pretty well knit, and my siblings and I continue to get along as Family should, the extensions each had their own set of issues.

It was already stated that I didn’t particularly care for my grandmother.  Even now, in bitterness, I glance at her pictures around the house and still resent her.

It’s been a long month+ in Ohio, I had to call and reschedule my dr’s appointment for this week, because we’re not done here yet.  So many things haven’t happened the way they needed to, and here I am.  Still.
The snow has finally come to an end, but the sun barely shines, aiding unto the melancholic chill wrapped inside my heart.  Each morning, I arise to the same thing.  Each night I go down hoping to leave soon.

Uncertainty gives way to insecurity, which can lend to a plague of further negative emotion, swirling furiously within the mind.
Each step I have taken for almost a year is laced with uncertainty.
Where will we live? Where will you work? Where will we have financial security?
And now, as the months close in between a cloudy future and the baby being born, I wrestle these anxious concerns alongside my frustrations with still being in Ohio.
My path of ventilation has been to harbor continued anger with my Grandmother. For what she was not, what she never would be. Who she chose to be. What she chose not to be.
All I have lost is $40 a year in holiday checks. What made the emotion furrow even deeper was the way the Pastor spoke at her memorial service.
When nobody has a clue what is suffered on the inside of a unit, what else are they to speak of beyond the Hope of Salvation?
Each of the viewpoints were nice, but he did not have the slightest idea how off he was. What can you do, sitting in silent reverence? What do you say afterward?
Cloudy, my heart remains. Our world was already upside-down before she died. Now I feel as though I’m trapped in a snowglobe.
Yes, we’re finally in the third trimester and wanting a place for the baby to be that is properly set up, belonging solely to her, is also a high concern. But I just don’t know what is going to happen this summer.

On a positive note:
My pursuit to become an author strengthens as I open myself to the things I was made to do, and it is quite rewarding.
I hope to continue this pursuit very soon- as my writing has also been affected by this series of misfortunate events.
I hope Spring finds the rest of you in better, warmer places.

When Pain Becomes Too Hard To Bear

What words are there when no one knows what to say?

Someone will always crack a comment.  One that will sting.

Someone will remark with something unfeeling, heartless, or even just plain apathetic.

Someone will try to be sympathetic, but fail to say what everyone is wanting to hear.

Another will see it as an opportunity to preach about how we don’t know our hour, and we need Jesus – when we don’t even know if the one we’ve all come to mourn made it to heaven.

Maybe no one will cry.

Maybe no one will even remember.

But regardless, it will effect all of us the same way.

What makes people so hateful?  What makes them hurt so much that they take it out on each other?  What makes them think they are any better than the one that sits next to them in class?  If we all live, we all hurt.
But we don’t all deal with it the same way.

Little girl, I am sorry that it hurt so much that you couldn’t handle it anymore.
I will cry, and I will remember.  And I will do what it takes to not let another soul go without knowing that somebody cared.

When life becomes so hard that somebody takes their own life, the blame game is easy to get into.

Blaming yourself for not caring enough.

Others saying they deserved it.

Blaming God for not caring enough to stop it.

Blaming yourself for not doing anything to stop it.

At first the emotion is numb.  You don’t know what to feel, you don’t know what to think… all you can do is soak in the shock.
If you’d only known… but how could you?

If you’d only seen… but seen what?

What was the last straw?  How many had there been before?

Why do people have to hurt each other so much?

It doesn’t matter now what happened, the point is it did.
What are you going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

There is Love.  We must share it with those who hurt.
There is Hope.  We must give it to those longing for it.
There is always a way out.  Are you willing to be the one who will make a difference?

Jesus said, “There is no greater love than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friends.”
If you call each other friends, how can you lay down your life, so they don’t give up theirs.