When things go wrong and we don’t understand why, especially after we’ve tried everything in our power to fix it, and prayed every prayer we know to pray, and yet the situation remains unchanging or grows worse, we often come to God baffled, and sometimes even, indignant, with questions about why He’s letting things unfold the way that they are without intervening. It’s not wrong to ask why (as long as you do it from a posture of humility and not entitlement), as God Himself invited us to do so, saying, “Call to Me, and I will answer you and, show you great and mighty things that you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Don’t be surprised if God will show you baffling things that you never knew were intertwined with the events that have happened to you…continue reading here.
When Jesus was on earth, He often made literal statements and replies to His disciples’ questions, that they didn’t understand. Sometimes it was because He kept understanding from them until they were mature and prepared enough to understand (like when He first predicted His death, Luke 9:43-45), or they simply couldn’t accept His words because they sounded too “wonderful” or overwhelming to be true (like when He predicted His second death, Matthew 17:22-23; and when He was going to raise Lazarus from death, John 11:11-16). The greatest example of this, of course, is their assumption that He’d come to restore the earthly Israel kingdom and overthrow the Roman Empire (Acts 1:6-8), when in fact, the prophecy from God clearly stated that Jesus’ purpose on earth was to “save His people from their sins”…continue reading here.
Study of Scripture shows that God’s promises are often more than they appear to be. God gives a promise. We hear it through the filter of our experiences and what culture interprets the literal words to mean. And despite God being aware of our small-minded interpretation, He often remains silent, choosing to teach us a higher way and understanding on the path of obedience, pacing us as our strength and maturity grows with revelation upon revelation. Through seasons of purification, testing and preparation that are tougher and more painful than you originally anticipated, you realize that you’re in on something bigger than you, and that the future is full of uncertainties; by this time it’s too late to turn back to the old normal, because it is now impossible to unsee, unlearn and unknow what you’ve been taught by God Himself and have received through revelation…continue reading here.
When you’ve been selected along with your peers for an enviable position, the natural tendency is to want to empress your superiors. You wouldn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize your chances. And if your moral compass isn’t what it should be, you might even consider compromising certain ethics and principles to make sure that your position is secure…continue reading here.
The desire to know God will always conflict with the desire to love the world. The ways of the world are alluring such that it is tempting enough to want to forsake a life in Jesus. This is because life in the Spirit is not nearly as tangible as the pleasures of the flesh (2 Cor. 4:18). If you will be successful in a life of faith, you must make up your mind to believe that God is love (1 John 4:16) and that His Word is absolutely true (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Armed with this, and by the power of His grace, you can accept a life of suffering or persecution when they come…continue reading here.
Caleb and Joshua were the only two spies out of the twelve sent into Canaan to return with a positive report despite what they’d witnessed. The other ten are historically known to have swayed the Israelites with their negative opinion, such that, it angered God enough to punish Israel by swearing that the adult generation would never taste the goodness of the Promised Land, but instead, would die in the desert. What can we glean from this…continue reading here.
As you grow in your Christian faith, you will come to place where you will raise questions that the answers may, in a terrifying way, appear to be in conflict with another truth in God’s Word. The fear of committing heresy or falling into some other sin may hinder you from further exploring these questions and where they may lead to. For instance, you dream and hope for more in life, but you also remember the part of Scripture that tells you to be content; you’re told to embrace the peace of God…continue reading here.
Israel was traditionally set up to have its men be the rulers on every level. It was unusual for Israel to follow the leadership of a woman. But with God’s anointing and favor, Deborah was called to be God’s prophetess, so much so that her anointing couldn’t be missed by Israel. Despite Israel’s laid down rules, she became their leader and they came to her to have their disputes decided under the Palm of Deborah—note that the tree was named after her…continue reading here.
When you receive a promise of destiny from God, there’s the tendency to rush off in zeal to get started and achieve it all quickly. You might even go ahead and prepare a plan and step-by-step process to get you to where you think you are going (and may even do so forgetting to consult God). You believe that your plan isn’t only fail-proofed, you’re sure that it will get you there without any pain or hitches, and hopefully, will include fame, wealth and bliss…continue reading here.
One of the most difficult things in life is to have to fill the shoes of a predecessor that wasn’t only greatly successful, but was deeply loved as well. This was the case with Joshua taking Moses’ place. God, understanding Joshua’s struggle, came to him and encouraged him to be courageous. Thus, a new leader who turned out to be great, too, was born. Do you find yourself in a similar position as Joshua? Are you a new leader taking over from someone considered an icon or legend in your field or organization…continue reading here.
Human desire is quick to believe that when God wants to use you to change the world, He’ll do so by putting you on a great platform where everyone will see you, adore you, admire and “love” you. Fortunately, God in His great and supreme wisdom, doesn’t always let it go this way. He may call you to impact the life of one person, who will in turn impact the life of hundreds, thousands or millions in their lifetime. This way, you would have changed the world forever…continue reading here.
I, personally, can relate to Moses as he sought with much zeal to fulfill what God laid upon his heart. Can you? When there’s a holy desire burning in your soul and you’re sure that it’s put there by God, it is easy to believe that—because you’re on fire, because you love God, because you’re so talented, because you’re “special” and stand out in some way, then you’re definitely ready to march on and slay any dragons that stand in your way and thereafter, fulfill destiny…continue reading here.
Some dreams that God lay on one’s heart may initially appear too daunting and impossible, even to the dreamer who seemingly wants it the most. The road that leads to such a dream becoming a reality appears unmade. Clearly, such a feat will require a miracle from God’s hand, as nothing else will suffice. It is not uncommon to find many Christians, if they choose to admit, who in their secret place, struggle with believing…continue reading here.
When you make a request to God, as you wait for an answer or the manifestation of the answer that you’ve received, there’s the tendency to want to put life on hold as you plan the rest of your “living” around this answer that you’re waiting for “to happen.” Many times, this approach leads to much disappointment, and makes the child of God raise questions that s/he ordinarily wouldn’t. It’s important to come to know God as a person, as you would anyone else. In my experience, it is in God’s nature to…continue reading here.
It is not uncommon for God to call a person to start something that has never existed before. As was with Abraham, it may require a new foundation to be laid for this new beginning—a slate wiped clean. This was David’s story. At the beginning, it appeared that Israel having a king was originally the people’s idea, but, in fact, God had installed this in His plan for Israel from the beginning, even revealing it to one of the patriarchs—Jacob—who prophesied it while on his deathbed…continue reading here.
What do you see in humanity? What is it you look for in a person? How do you help them achieve the best version of themselves? These are EPIC philosophical questions true to life reflected upon daily, minute by minute, for a Director, Writer, and Producer of a film and/or play. For me, stories that make the biggest impact and impression are those that exhibit the truthful struggle and success of living an authentic life…continue reading here.
I consider Mary’s reply to Angel Gabriel’s message about the birth of Christ to be one of the most remarkable ever recorded in Scripture. It is easy to assume that you would respond the same as Mary did if placed in the same circumstance—I mean, who would turn down being the vessel through which the Christ would come, right? “Such a blessing Mary received,” you’d say. “Such high favor from God, Himself!”…continue reading here.
Dear Younger Me,
I can only speak from my personal work experience in the film industry. No matter what your profession, circumstance, or age, your character is a reflection of the choices you make. Thank goodness there is grace. I often tell my own kids and my acting students to make the decision of who they are now, as well as what their standing values are, before they get pressured by the world and peers…continue reading here.
This is a heartrending, and at the same time, a hope-filled song. Before You describes a dark place that existed before the coming of the light of Jesus that saves and restores. A deeper look into this song reveals a story of hope dashed time and again until fear and despair took root and dug deep to depths that seemed impossible to come back from…continue reading here.
Abigail Duhon is fast becoming a household name. A rising star in Christian cinema and the music industry, this young woman is soundly capable of the triple treat—acting, singing, and dancing—required by any entertainment industry to succeed. Clearly, she’s hardworking. She’s starred in deeply inspirational movies that have shaken the world (God’s Not Dead franchise, Caged No More, I’m Not Ashamed etc.)…continue reading here.
Esther was queen of an empire that spanned 127 provinces from India to Cush. Her queenship brought about a phenomenal change that saved the Jewish nation from Haman’s evil scheme. God had a plan to keep and nurture Israel until He was ready to liberate them from a foreign rule. However, Israel would have been annihilated before they were ready to be liberated. Esther was God’s servant used to stop that from happening…continue reading here.
Thomas, the disciple of Jesus, is best known for doubting Jesus’ resurrection and appearance. Not a good thing to be famous for, is it? But what if there’s so much more to the story? What if there’s a reason behind Thomas doubting Jesus, which will lead you to be more empathetic…continue reading here.
Easter is fast approaching, and as is the custom, many are preparing for fancy celebrations. This is a good thing! However, as we do this, let’s pause to consider something very important. This celebration exists because of the love of Jesus that is not only willing to forgive, but to also reconcile us to God…continue reading here.
A lot of people assume that the road to becoming great, famous or a force to be reckoned with either happens with one hit overnight or they have a huge platform upon which they begin. If you’re one of such people, let me tell you now that this isn’t true. NOBODY who’s become great did it that easily. The road to any kind of success is paved with much hard work, discipline, consistency, and strategic planning…continue reading here.
Whether you’re a fan of conventional Christian music or go with the modern contemporaries, there clearly is a distinction between the two categories, and each group has its devout followers who swear that the one is better than the other, never neglecting to mention the benefits of their chosen group over the other…continue reading here.
The tendency of most avid readers is to read and finish a book in 48 hours or less. But what if you lack the time to spend the best of two days focusing on a book? What if you’re a professional reader with a TBR so tall, you’re sure that the days of seeing the bottom of that pile are long gone but you crave reading a book for your personal enjoyment and not because you’ve been requested to? Also, do you find yourself in a category altogether different…continue reading here.
The trouble with being human, especially when we have a goal in mind, is that even before we get started we want to be shown a clear path to a successful end with no hitches so that nothing is a surprise. This, of course, isn’t possible even when we do our best to lay down the perfect plan. Past experiences show that at every turn, something new or unplanned may arise, sometimes, painfully, and in a magnitude that cannot be ignored, and so the previous plan is disrupted…continue reading here.
What is there to write about? And, why? How do you write a whole existence of worth that hasn’t already been written? Just as there is not a single birth of a new human soul that is the same as another, neither are the lives of any two individuals! Does such a simple truth blow your mind? Mine, too…continue reading here.
How Fear Inspired My Life & Career
Fear is a powerful word. Fear is real. It can stop us right in our tracks, debilitating us. It is the enemy messing with our heads—lying to us, telling us we are less than worthless, and discouraging us from hope. Fear also mirrors that you need to grow in strength and wisdom…continue reading here.
Have a Successful New Year
“Have a successful new year.” We’ve all heard and said this prayerful blessing for a profitable and purposeful new year. And we try diligently to make it come true. We resolve to break old habits or establish new ones. We strive for a sense of accomplishment and pride…continue reading here.
How God Revealed My Core Message
Last summer after completing my seventh novel, I felt depleted and lost as a writer. I had to force myself to write or check email or even look at a book. My fields needed to fallow. God said rest. I said but but but… oh, all right…continue reading here.
My Serenity, Courage & Wisdom
The year is coming to an end. There have been successes, losses and failures—there isn’t any one individual who hasn’t experienced all three of these at one time. At this point in the year, there are basically two categories of people. There are those who are disappointed with the way things turned out, and there are those who are elated with the progress they’ve made…continue reading here.
Which of these answers would be the hardest for you to hear? If you’re like me, you would say the third. The why of a “yes” or “no” isn’t as tough to deal with as the “how long?!” of a wait. But so often that’s exactly where I find myself: waiting. And it’s easy to get discouraged if I keep staring into the dense fog obscuring what’s ahead…continue reading here.
Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants
Life will throw you curve balls. There’s no getting around that. But what keeps one afloat? For me, one of the things that does this—aside from praying and constantly looking up to Jesus—is learning from my heroes. It takes humility to do so, and it’s not always easy, because, part of the process is admitting where you’ve been painfully foolish. The next step is seeking God’s forgiveness and help, which may materialize in the form of wise advice from family, a friend or mentor…continue reading here.
Reunions, Anniversaries & Callings
As I write, I’m winging my way to my 25th reunion at George Fox University. I happened to graduate in their centennial year, so this is also the university’s 125th anniversary.
I’m looking forward to it for all the typical reasons: seeing old (well, not too old) friends and professors, and seeing improvements to the campus. I’m really looking forward to running the Foxtrot 5k with my brother…continue reading here.
Woman In Film: Why I’m An Actress And Filmmaker
I am a woman of and in film! What does this mean to me? I live, breathe, and think film in all that I do. It means that potentially working 12 to 16 hour for days, back-to-back, actually excites me and gets me up in the morning. It means that every second of the day, amidst my many tasks at hand, I’m concocting stories to bring to life through the silver screen (and developing the team to execute it)…continue reading here.
Focus On Jesus
How do you deal with moments in life that are not what you expected to happen? God tells us that all things work together for the good of those who love Him. What does this mean? Recently, I experienced my soul lose its wind from a traverse of my perfectly-made plans. The pain, sadness, tears, and fears that followed, overwhelmed me, making me sick on the inside. I found that when I focused on myself, I felt a lot of pain—all of it…continue reading here.
The (Unreal) Fantasy Of The World Of Entertainment, Fashion & Sports
I’m a huge fan of Hawaii Five-O, and I think Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Grace Park, Daniel Dae Kim, and Masi Oka do a fantastic job of keeping the show relatively funny, action-packed, and interesting. While watching season 3, episode 9, a secondary character—a model—said to Daniel Williams (Scott Caan), “People think that the life we live is real, but they don’t realize we’re paid to sell a fantasy” (paraphrased). Unfortunately, many folks don’t realize this is true. They see all that glamor, fame, and money, and take what entertainment TV has to offer as the gospel…continue reading here.
A Blessing To Every Nation!
Muhammad Ali passed away a few days ago. Though he was an iconic boxer, even tagged The Greatest, he is remembered for something more—his fight against racism and social inequality. He stated more than once that his fame and boxing career were for fighting for the freedom and equality of all races, and not for his personal benefit.
Pause for a moment. Let’s sidestep a bit and collect a verse from Scripture…continue reading here.
You Don’t Have To Be Perfect To Begin
It’s easy to believe you have to have it all together to begin anything of significance.
This simply isn’t true!
When Jesus first began His mission, Scripture stated that His disciples helped Him baptize people, even more than John who’d baptized Him! This was shortly after Jesus had called them to be part of His ministry. At this time, the disciples didn’t know much and understood very little, but Jesus used them anyway…continue reading here.
Your Time Is Not Entirely Your Own
In a world where 24 hours doesn’t seem enough anymore, and one can easily be convinced that if you don’t give it your all, you might lose your chance at success, it’s easy to buy into the inkling that to have enough time to achieve success, time spent with friends, family, and in leisure has to be reduced…continue reading here.
How Does Adversity Affect You?
Usually, these moments occur at a time in life when you’re at a crossroad and you have to unlearn a certain principle (or a couple!) that you’ve lived by until something jarring came along and tested its depth in your soul. You suddenly realize that some of your “beliefs” are just fancy cool opinions that are trending and you thought they would look good on you, too…continue reading here.
A Prayer For Now & Always
The more I witness certain things happening in this world, the more I’m in awe and humbled by the faithfulness of God. As you climb higher in the ladder of life, there’s a place you get to, and then you realize that if you don’t let God take a hold of you, the world will, one way or another. And, who knows if you’ll ever find your way back. I have gotten to this point, and some days, it scares me. Other days, I remember the faithfulness of God…continue reading here.
A Message From Sanctus Real
I remember the first time I heard the song, Whatever You’re Doing by Sanctus Real. I cried. I was going through a very tough time, and I had a lot of questions to ask God. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it, and so a lot of things remained bottled up inside me. When I first listened to the song, it resonated with me on a very deep level, and the floodgates opened. The lyrics couldn’t be truer than how I felt on the inside. And in that moment, I knew that I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I did…continue reading here.
The Four Cardinal Points Of A Joyful Life
Life won’t always produce happy moments, but you can decide to be a joyful soul and therefore, live a joyful life. This isn’t easy, but with discipline, you can achieve this lifestyle. Below, are what I believe are the four cardinal points of a joyful life…continue reading here.
The Bookstore Experience
With the dawn of the kindle and other electronic reading devices, buying a book is just a click away. Why get up and drive to a book store when technology has made life and a busy schedule so much easier to deal with? But then, one trades away the joy and fulfillment that comes with the bookstore experience. I realized this recently when I walked into my favorite bookstore not so long ago. The feel of each book, the soothing music playing in the background, and the fun of watching other book enthusiasts like me peruse the shelves as they searched for books by their favorite authors…continue reading here.
The Politics Of David & Goliath
A preacher once asked his congregation, “Between David and Goliath, based on their qualifications, who would you choose to be your bodyguard?” And, what were the qualifications? Goliath was a champion who was nine feet tall. He carried the air and charisma of a military person, and, his entire armor (which weighed 5000 shekels) and javelin were made of bronze…continue reading here.
How To Finish Well
If you’re a novice when you get into the writing business (or any other kind for that matter), one mistake you may make is, to believe in overnight success. Overnight success of a book, movie or song, is a very rare phenomenon. In fact, I, personally, believe there’s no such thing. Because every “overnight” success has a story behind it…continue reading here.
My Roller Coaster Writing Journey
Just for the record, I love roller coasters. I love the speed, the highs, and lows, and twists, and turns. I love the adrenaline rush, the air time, the dark places, and even the moments of fear. I enjoy it because I know I’m safe, and that I will arrive in one piece at my destination…continue reading here.
I Am Ruth
There are the days when the quote, “when one door closes, another one opens,” seems incomplete and inadequate. Why? It neglects to mention the waiting period between the closing of the old door and the opening of the new one. This waiting period is what some of us would like to call, the dark hallway...continue reading here.