Glorify only our Lord, definitively and eternally!

Glory is truly meant only for our Lord. Not people, not carved figures, not images and not man-made creations. We only glorify the Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit.

In recent times, South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker glorified God and used her successful achievements at the Tokyo Olympic Games to lead others to Him. The said achievements include establishing new records in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke and also in the 200-meter breaststroke. To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the CBN News report. Some parts in boldface…

Tatjana Schoenmaker — an Olympic swimmer from South Africa — has shattered records this week in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke, and she’s using her success to point others to God.

The swimmer set a new Olympic record Wednesday in the preliminary round with a time of 2:19.16. Then on Friday, she went on to win the gold in the event, setting a new world record with a time of 2:18.95.

The 24-year-old Olympian broke another record in the preliminary rounds for the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:04.82. She ended up claiming the silver medal in the Monday event, Sportsnet reported.

In all her competitions in Tokyo, Schoenmaker has worn — under her green South Africa swim cap — another cap proclaiming her faith.

The white Speedo cap the athlete is wearing features a blue Jesus fish under the phrase “Soli Deo Gloria,” which means “Glory to God alone,” printed on the side of it.

Schoenmaker has used her platform to discuss her Christian faith before.

In an Instagram post last week, she posted a prayer as she traveled to Tokyo for the summer Olympic Games.

On the mentioned Instagram post, Schoenmaker wrote: Father God may your will be done, may your peace fill us up, may we praise you no matter what the outcome, may we be empowered by your strength to give it our all and may we forever be in the awe of your goodness! Thank you for bringing us to this very moment 🙏🏻

It is essential to be mindful that inhabitants of this deeply divided world struggle with the temptations of honoring and even worshiping their fellow people who achieved greatness or are simply charming. Think about all the people who idolized movie stars, sports champions, fashion models, dancers, politicians and even fictional characters! Idolatry towards individual persons begins when people get overwhelmed by the would-be-idol’s success or charisma, and this leads them to prioritizing those individuals and forget the Lord as a result. Idolatry is unholy, foolish and will separate people from the Lord! Nobody should ever give in to the temptation of idolizing because that is precisely what Satan wants. Learn from the New Living Translation (NLT) and The Passion Translation (TPT) of 1 Corinthians 6:9:-10 below…

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT)

Surely you must know that people who practice evil cannot possess God’s kingdom realm. Stop being deceived! People who continue to engage in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual perversion, homosexuality, fraud, greed, drunkenness, verbal abuse, or extortion—these will not inherit God’s kingdom realm.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (TPT)

It is also important to remember that God is our Creator and our Source. Blessings in the forms of heavenly income and tremendous human achievements only come from Him. By comparison, idols will never bless their idolaters no matter how much they idolize! As such, it was right and proper for South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker to glorify God because what she achieved was made possible by Him. Only God can make the impossible become possible. In using her success to honor God, Schoenmaker is also doing her part in helping Him save the countless lost and unsaved souls of this world, and help Him build His Kingdom here on Earth.

Of course, I am not saying that fellow people who achieve greatness should be ignored. They can still be congratulated, rewarded and be celebrated to a certain limit. To worship or prioritize the human achiever over our Lord is very wrong. Glorify God, not people. Follow His Word, not those man-made doctrines or pieces of fiction. Be led by faith in the Lord, not religion, not unbelief, and not by this divided world. Learn from the following holy scriptures below…

Now to God, the only source of wisdom, be glorious praises for endless ages through Jesus, the Anointed One! Amen!

Romans 16:27 (TPT)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3 (NKJV)

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!

Sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, bless His name;

Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.

Declare His glory among the nations,

His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;

He is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols,

But the Lord made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are before Him;

Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

Give to the Lord glory and strength.

Give to the Lord the glory due His name;

Bring an offering, and come into His courts.

Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!

Tremble before Him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:1-9 (NKJV)

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 4:13-15 (NKJV)

Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace.

1 Peter 4:10 (TPT)

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

Mark 12:30 (NKJV)

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others.

For we know that we will receive a reward, an inheritance from the Lord, as we serve the Lord Yahweh, the Anointed One!

Colossians 3:23-24 (TPT)

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

From this point on, I would like to reach out to the lost and the unsaved people reading this. Are you frustrated with religion? Have you been living in bondage for too long? Did the atheists, the humanists and the secularists fool and abused you? Were you victimized by a religious zealot? Have you been living as a homosexual or as a transgendered person? Are you still addicted to sex, drugs and other inappropriate elements? Did you spend an entire life worshiping statues, statuettes, images, people and relics? Are you a toxic person or one of those modern-day Leftist activists (Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, the abortionists and others) who got fed up fighting for worthless causes? Did you kill someone and have been living so long with the guilt? All of that darkness can finally end and you can decide to do it! How? You can save yourselves by submitting yourselves to the Lord Jesus willingly and realize He is the Light! No force and no coercion here. You have time and freedom to decide to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. For those who have decided to get born again now and gain salvation, please read the instructions and follow the prayer that I learned from a pastor.

Are you ready? Firstly, open your heart to the Lord and pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Father God,

I thank You. I believe Jesus is Your Son. I believe that He died for me and redeemed me from all of my sins. He took my sins and, Father, thank You for loving me and You demonstrated Your love for me through Your Son Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all of my sins. Jesus, I open my heart to You. I welcome You to enter into my heart. I confess today that You are now my Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiveness. I receive forgiveness. Thank You for Your blood that cleansed me from all of my sins. I will follow You, Jesus. Thank You for Your plan. I receive the Holy Spirit. And Holy Spirit, help me to follow the will of God in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God! You have received Holy Spirit in your heart! This is easily your greatest decision ever made and also the greatest miracle of your life. Always praise, thank and honor the Lord. No more darkness in your life caused by politics, radicalism, toxicity, rebellion, religion, unbelief, evil, idolatry, traditions and rituals! Leave behind the darkness of your life and don’t look back to it. Remember that idolatry is evil, Purgatory is a lie, penance is a deception and Satan always used religion and unbelief to prevent people from being saved by the Lord.

With Lord Jesus, you are already moving forward and the best is yet to come! You also have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that is strictly off-limits to others (even to your household members or biological family members).

With your new life realized, make an effort to get yourself copy of the Holy Bible (start with New King James Version), study it and apply its lessons into your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a local Christian church that God has chosen for you (note: ask Him for a local church!) and find your place in the spiritual family (God’s family!).  Be planted when the Lord shows you the way! Worship the Lord together with them and always remember that faith, not religion, is essential in your personal relationship with God. When you are at home, be in your room with the door shut and have fellowship with our Heavenly Father. On a personal level, practice Christian Habits here and there. Remember the truth that God rewards the faithful abundantly  and continue to be people of the WordDeclare your love for Him as well!

The Holy Bible is the ultimate authority and nothing else comes close to it for it is the Word of God. Remember always that Lord Jesus did not die on the cross to start religion. He died to redeem us all and showed that we must be led by faith in Him, faith in the Holy Spirit and faith in God the Heavenly Father. He rose from the dead and made His earthly presence felt once more to those who believed in Him. Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven and He promised to return in the future. His return is what we must always remember and keep living with holiness under the watch of God. We can do our part in building up God’s kingdom here on Earth by preaching His Word, blessing the Jewish people and saving the countless lost and unsaved souls around us by leading them to Lord Jesus. Living as a Christian is always about the personal relationship with the Lord, and it is certainly not about religion. Never let the idolaters, the idol makers and other sinister forces fool you into becoming unholy.

In ending this, here are some videos of Christian worship music for you to enjoy and praise the Lord with. Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! 

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christian Music Appreciation: Mercy on Display

Welcome back, my readers and fellow Christians! In this newest edition of my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series, we will focus on the worship song titled Mercy on Display written by Darlene Zschech and performed by the music team of Hope Unlimited Church (HopeUC).

For the newcomers reading this, HopeUC is a Christian church founded in Australia. As of this writing, it is led by Pastor Darlene Zschech and her husband Mark. According the church’s website: Ps Mark and Darlene have a strong passion for the local church that exists to see the hope of Jesus Christ reside in every heart, across the Central Coast, Hunter Region and throughout the world.

Their desire is to see people living life out of the power that God intended for each and every one of us. Healing, wholeness and victory.

They believe in, and strongly support, mission works around the world and helping the poor by using what we have in our hands to make and be the change in this world.

They believe that the Church should be a people of faith and worship, who put God at the centre of their lives and that His Word is dependable and true for living successfully everyday, in every relationship, and situation.

To learn more about HopeUC, visit https://hopeuc.com/

Going back to the worship song, HopeUC premiered the official music video of Mercy on Display on their YouTube channel on April 14, 2021.

Before analyzing the Biblical relevance of the song, posted below for your reference are the lyrics of Mercy on Display.

Verse 1

I see the cross of Calvary

I see the pain you bore for me,

Your mercy on display for all to see

Verse 2

The earth grew dark and held its breath

As victory over hell and death was

Finished in Your perfect sacrifice

Chorus 1

The cross has made the way for us

So we can come and call upon Your name (Jesus)

And now oh death, you’ve lost your sting

As love has triumphed over sin & grave

Verse 3

For nothing now shall separate us

From Your love and from Your presence

Forever at the table of the Lord

Verse 4

Where everyone is welcome here

The veil is torn, the battle has been won

We worship You our God

Chorus 2

You Washed me clean as white as snow

I stand in awe, Your love won’t let me go, Jesus

I’ll Praise You now and evermore

You raised me up, Forever I am Yours

Bridge

You rewrote my story

I will ever praise Your name

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I am crowned with blessing

I will always sing Your praise

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

For analysis, let’s start with Verse 1’s lyrics – I see the cross of Calvary, I see the pain you bore for me, Your mercy on display for all to see. Calvary is the place where Lord Jesus got crucified at along with the criminals who were present with Him. For greater perspective and clarity, read the scripture below…

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.

Luke 23:33 (NKJV)

It should be noted that Calvary is derived from the Latin term calvaria which means “a skull.” The Passion Translation of the same scripture is read as follows…

When they came to the place that is known as The Skull, the guards crucified Jesus, nailing him on the center cross between the two criminals.

Luke 23:33 (TPT)

As Lord Jesus got crucified, He endured tremendous pain and He also paid for humanity’s sins. It was also there at Calvary where His cross was set up in full view of the people. At His cross, Lord Jesus told the Heavenly Father to forgive the people (grant them mercy). Refer to the scripture below in New King James Version and The Passion Translation…

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Luke 23:34 (NKJV)

While they were nailing Jesus to the cross, he prayed over and over, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

The soldiers, after they crucified him, gambled over his clothing.

Luke 23:34 (TPT)

With the above scriptures, it is clear that Verse 1 of the song is indeed biblically relevant in reference to the crucifixion (Lord Jesus’ paying the price for our sins) and the mercy from God (as Lord Jesus reached out to Him to forgive the people).

Moving on, Verse 2’s lyrics are as follows – The earth grew dark and held its breath, As victory over hell and death was, Finished in Your perfect sacrifice. Personally, I strongly believe that Verse 2 is directly related to the holy scripture below…

Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”

Luke 23:44-47 (NKJV)

In the above scripture, the sacrifice of Lord Jesus was completed and the victory was realized not only for that point of time but for all time which paved the way for further generations of people to find Him and decide to repent to Him, submit to Him, become faithful to Him and receive salvation. The Roman centurion who witnessed His death realized that He was God, worshiped (refer to New Living Translation) and glorified (refer to the Passion Translation) Him. As we all know, Lord Jesus returned from the dead days later.

Moving on are the lyrics from Chorus 1 – The cross has made the way for us, So we can come and call upon Your name (Jesus), And now oh death, you’ve lost your sting, As love has triumphed over sin & grave. Those words remind me that not only is our Lord our source and salvation, He is also our protector and healer which in turn should remind all of you to come to Him. In any time of darkness or trouble, the Lord is our light and we need to come to Him and be faithful to Him. Learn more about coming to Him and reaching out to Him by calling His name wholeheartedly from the scriptures below.

God, hear my prayer. Listen to my heart’s cry.

For no matter where I am, even when I’m far from home,

    I will cry out to you for a father’s help.

    When I’m feeble and overwhelmed by life,

    guide me into your glory, where I am safe and sheltered.

Lord, you are a paradise of protection to me.

    You lift me high above the fray.

    None of my foes can touch me

    when I’m held firmly in your wraparound presence!

Keep me in this glory.

    Let me live continually under your splendor-shadow,

    hiding my life in you forever.

Psalm 61:1-4 (TPT)

And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Acts 22:16 (NKJV)

in writing you this letter addressed to the community of God throughout the city of Corinth. For you have been made pure, set apart in the Anointed One, Jesus. And God has invited you to be his devoted and holy people, and not only you, but everyone everywhere who calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord, and ours also.

1 Corinthians 1:2 (TPT)

Lord Jesus, who overcame death, is truly the ultimate and definitive savior, and anyone who seeks salvation only need to reach out to Him and be faithful to Him. The above scriptures clearly reflect that and the lyrics in Chorus 1 of the song Mercy on Display are indeed holy. You want mercy from high above? Come to the Lord and get born again (read the words of Lord Jesus in John 3:3).

Movie forward, here are the lyrics in the Bridge – You rewrote my story, I will ever praise Your name, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, I am crowned with blessing, I will always sing Your praise, Hallelujah, Hallelujah. These words are a lively reminder that once you get born again and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you become a new creation. You also become a child of God, one who is faithful to Him, who follows His Word (the Holy Bible which is the ultimate written authority) and preach His Word to the rest of the world. It is also true that each of us has been created by God to worship Him, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit eternally. Learn from the holy scriptures below.

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (TPT)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)

Come and kneel before this Creator-God;

    come and bow before the mighty God, our majestic maker!

Psalm 95:6 (TPT)

Everyone praise the Lord God of Israel, always and forever!

    For he is from eternity past

    and will remain for the eternity to come.

    That’s the way it will be forever.

    Faithful is our King! Amen!

Psalm 41:13 (TPT)

Indeed, the lyrics analyzed confirm that HopeUC’s song Mercy on Display is holy. Mercy from the Lord is true and anyone who repents and submits to Him will gain it and move forward with the new life dedicated and filled with faith in Him. Musically, Mercy on Display is beautiful to listen to and it is a suitable song to be played at church during Sunday worship services or during church special events whenever there is a need to play something smoother or more solemn to the church attendees. Lastly, I can say that Mercy on Display was written to help deepen a person’s faith in the Lord.

In conclusion, posted below is the official music video of Mercy on Display performed by the HopeUC music team led by Darlene Zschech herself! While listening to it, remember to be faithful and thankful to the Lord. Always remember to realize the good life from the Lord, practice Christian habitsget yourself planted in a local church (be led by Him) and remember the truth that He rewards the faithful abundantly and He established plans for you even before you were even created! Continue to be people of the Word, seek God through His son Jesus, and keep on being the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at The Strangers #5 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! As of this writing, I am coming close to finally reviewing all issues of The Strangers series of comic books under the Ultraverse line of Malibu Comics. If you have been following my retro reviews, I reviewed issue #23 which was the 2nd-to-the-last of all published issues of The Strangers.

Then I checked for issues I have not reviewed. I went on to review issues #14 and #15. Now I am about to review a few more issues that were published during the first six months of The Strangers.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #5, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins somewhere in California (shortly after parting ways with Hardcase and Choice). It was decided by the team to take a break from being the Strangers and return to their respective private lives.

Bob Hardin/Atom Bob returns to his parents at home and learns that not only were he and his teammates publicized in the local news, there are many reporters who arrived and stayed just outside their home seeking him.

Zip-Zap arrives in his old neighborhood and immediately encounters a local gang of his fellow black people. Grenade and Electrocute, who are in the same neighborhood as Atom Bob, walk down the street and start to get close with each other. Elena/Lady Killer goes back to her business while Yrial finds herself unable to return to her private life (at the floating island). Suddenly, someone on the sidewalk calls out to Yrial for help…

Quality

Suspense and tension builds up for the Strangers.

Given how hectic times were for The Strangers in the first four issues, this story is a welcome change of pace. The pacing was adjusted to give readers some much needed breathing space to help them focus on the characterization moments, to get to know each team member better and to realize what their place in the entire Ultraverse truly is. For one thing, it is nice to see Atom Bob with his folks and it is quite something to see Yrial finding herself somewhat lost and lonely in the middle of the city as she is unable to come back to her tribe on the floating island.

More on storytelling, this comic book still has a good amount of space left for spectacle which was structured in a way to be a pay-off for all the character development scenes that preceded it. That being said, the new villain introduced here is Deathwish who turns out to be quite powerful (powerful enough kill and make corpses rot faster than usual) and easily challenged the Strangers a lot. The encounter results some pretty interesting character moments for each team member. Deathwish also is one of the many other people who rode the same cable car with the Strangers on the day they got hit by energy from above.

More on the spectacle, I just love the way Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg presented the teamwork dynamics of The Strangers in their fight with Deathwish.

Conclusion

Elena/Lady Killer as the very busy businesswoman.

The Strangers #5 (1993) is another entertaining read from the Englehart-Hoberg duo. This comic book further developed the characters and even gave readers a look at their private lives before resuming the superhero spectacle. It also tried to be socially relevant for the 1990s with insertions about AIDS, cancer and homosexuality (an abomination as clearly written in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the Holy Bible) which are channeled through one particular team member. More notably, it sheds light on the cable car incident from issue #1 to point out that the Strangers are truly not the only ones who got affected by the energy blast from the sky.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #5 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #5 is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Idolatry is Foolishness

There is no doubt that idolatry makes a person (a creation of the Lord) unholy and unworthy of becoming part of God’s kingdom. Pay close attention to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in different translations below (key words in bold for greater emphasis)…

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT)

Surely you must know that people who practice evil cannot possess God’s kingdom realm. Stop being deceived! People who continue to engage in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual perversion, homosexuality, fraud, greed, drunkenness, verbal abuse, or extortion—these will not inherit God’s kingdom realm.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (TPT)

Knowing the truth in the above scriptures, you definitely would not want to become an idolater. Idolatry is truly unholy and anyone who practices it becomes unrighteous. Idolatry has no place whatsoever in Christianity, no matter what the idolaters, the unsaved souls and lost souls around us say. In fact, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is a holy scripture that many idolaters (along with the homosexuals, the greedy, the perverts and others deemed unholy) are very afraid of because the truth goes against them.

Idolatry is not limited to the worshiping of statues, statuettes, paintings, relics and people. It also includes prioritizing human acts of addiction (examples: addiction to illegal substances or the Internet), prioritizing materialism and prioritizing other worldly matters over the Lord! Many people don’t know it but they should know the truth that idolatry must be rejected and they should always worship God our Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Learn from the following scriptures below…

You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20:3-6 (NKJV)

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4:3-8 (NKJV)

Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19:4 (NKJV)

As it is already clear that idolatry is unholy, there is also the truth that idolatry is also foolishness! The truth is recorded in a very specific holy scripture from the 44th chapter of the Book of Isaiah. Pay close attention to the details…

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,

And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:

‘I am the First and I am the Last;

Besides Me there is no God.

And who can proclaim as I do?

Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me,

Since I appointed the ancient people.

And the things that are coming and shall come,

Let them show these to them.

Do not fear, nor be afraid;

Have I not told you from that time, and declared it?

You are My witnesses.

Is there a God besides Me?

Indeed there is no other Rock;

I know not one.’ ”

Those who make an image, all of them are useless,

And their precious things shall not profit;

They are their own witnesses;

They neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed.

Who would form a god or mold an image

That profits him nothing?

Surely all his companions would be ashamed;

And the workmen, they are mere men.

Let them all be gathered together,

Let them stand up;

Yet they shall fear,

They shall be ashamed together.

The blacksmith with the tongs works one in the coals,

Fashions it with hammers,

And works it with the strength of his arms.

Even so, he is hungry, and his strength fails;

He drinks no water and is faint.

The craftsman stretches out his rule,

He marks one out with chalk;

He fashions it with a plane,

He marks it out with the compass,

And makes it like the figure of a man,

According to the beauty of a man, that it may remain in the house.

He cuts down cedars for himself,

And takes the cypress and the oak;

He secures it for himself among the trees of the forest.

He plants a pine, and the rain nourishes it.

Then it shall be for a man to burn,

For he will take some of it and warm himself;

Yes, he kindles it and bakes bread;

Indeed he makes a god and worships it;

He makes it a carved image, and falls down to it.

He burns half of it in the fire;

With this half he eats meat;

He roasts a roast, and is satisfied.

He even warms himself and says,

“Ah! I am warm,

I have seen the fire.”

And the rest of it he makes into a god,

His carved image.

He falls down before it and worships it,

Prays to it and says,

“Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They do not know nor understand;

For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see,

And their hearts, so that they cannot understand.

And no one considers in his heart,

Nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say,

“I have burned half of it in the fire,

Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals;

I have roasted meat and eaten it;

And shall I make the rest of it an abomination?

Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”

He feeds on ashes;

A deceived heart has turned him aside;

And he cannot deliver his soul,

Nor say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

Isaiah 44:6-20 (NKJV)

As seen above, the prophet Isaiah issued a warning against idolatry. Emphasized were the absurdity of idolatry when compared with the worship of the Lord who is the true God of us all. Simply put, idols are not only unholy, they are worthless and do not respond to the idolaters (who in turn are too blinded to realize the truth in the Holy Bible).

Pay close attention to what our Heavenly Father said: You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. (Exodus 20:4-5 NKJV)

Idolatry is absolutely foolish and it is a violation of God’s Word. The problem with humanity is that when people are unfaithful or got blinded by religion or got consumed by unbelief or other worldly influences, they violate the Lord by making idols in the form of statues, statuettes, art pieces, relics and substances that they dedicate themselves to. They don’t realize it but those idols became their top priority, while God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not. They are too blinded to realize that man-made idols are abominations that actually please Satan because those idols keep them away from the Lord. Learn from the holy scripture below…

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,

The work of men’s hands.

They have mouths, but they do not speak;

Eyes they have, but they do not see;

They have ears, but they do not hear;

Nor is there any breath in their mouths.

Those who make them are like them;

So is everyone who trusts in them.

Psalm 135:15-18 (NKJV)

The making of idols is a centuries-old problem in this world. Here in the Philippines, idolatry is part of the status quo of the people and their culture. Way back in the year 1521, the Spaniards arrived here in the Philippines and brought with them a distorted form of Christianity in the shape of religion along with idolatry, traditions and rituals. Think about it. For the following centuries of Spanish influence, countless generations of Filipinos were trapped by religion, lived in bondage and were really held back from realizing the truth in the Holy Bible and also held back from accepting Jesus as the definitive Lord and Savior.

Along the way, countless statues, statuettes, images and relics of religion were made and a lot of families wasted their money to buy them and place those idols in their homes, not realizing that those are an abomination to the Lord. Imagine for example someone praying to a statue or a statuette of Lord Jesus. This is unfortunate because the idolater does not realize the truth that Lord Jesus NOT in the statue/statuette but is in Heaven and His Spirit is in the hearts of Christians who got born again.

Think about a religion-led church (living with distorted Christianity) organizing a procession or parade with idols displayed from start to the finish in full view of the people around. Such unholy events continue to happen here in the Philippines and it shows that there are still a lot of lost and unsaved souls among the Filipinos still trapped by idolatry and religion.

Think about the other people who rejected our Lord because they believed in the secularists, atheists, Leftists, humanists and other non-believing people, and looked up to them as walking idols not realizing they are unholy and doing exactly what Satan wants them to do. As I am writing this, there are lots of youth here in the Philippines who did not truly believe in the Lord because they decided to believe in the Leftists whose loudmouths became idols to them. Instead of Christianity, the unfortunate youth believed in socialism, homosexuality, Communism, humanism, Marxism, unbelief and other unholy influences. Clearly, they have been fooled by these forces of evil which involve idolatry.

Also think about the other people who have this very casual way of idolizing people in rather worldly ways. People who idolize public figures involved in the world of politics, entertainment, sports, social media, dishonest news media, Internet influence and the like. What these kinds of idolaters do not realize is that there is no such thing as an innocent way of doing idolatry, and the Holy Bible itself – with lots of references about idolatry – is very clear about that.

Thanks to our Lord, true faith-led Christianity was realized worldwide in the 20th century and today, here in the Philippines, there are lots of Christian churches that are dedicated to the Word of God, the direct worship of the Lord, and prioritize faith and the personal relationship with Him. The truth is religion is not essential, faith in the Lord is essential. Religion is not essential, the personal relationship with God is essential. Unbelief will lead to eternal suffering and damnation, being faithful to the Lord will lead to salvation. Idols and idolatry are unholy, the Lord is holy. Reject idolatry for it is clearly written in the holy scripture below…

My cherished friends, keep on running far away from idolatry.

1 Corinthians 10:14 (TPT)

As it is clear the idolatry is foolishness and idols are unholy, we Christians can help our Lord save the lost and unsaved souls around us by praying for them and by preaching the Word of God (verbally and through digital methods) so that people will realize the truth, analyze and make their decisions. We can help the idolaters and all other sinners get saved before it is too late for them. Pay close attention to the words of Lord Jesus below…

“Again, heaven’s kingdom realm is like a fisherman who casts his large net into the lake, catching an assortment of different kinds of fish. When the net was filled, the fishermen hauled it up on the shore, and they all sat down to sort out their catch. They collected the good fish in baskets and threw the bad away. And so it will be at the close of the age. The messengers will come and separate the evil from among the godly and throw them into the fiery furnace, where they will experience great sorrow, pain, and anguish.”

Matthew 13:47-50 (TPT)

The idolaters and other sinners still have time to stop sinning, and come to the Lord who only requires submission from them to become His children. To the idolaters and sinners reading this…you can still save yourselves. You can reject all those idols (both the man-made and the walking) and free yourselves from both foolishness and sin to come to Him, repent to Him and allow Him to reform you fully. It is not too late to get born again. Learn from God’s words in the following holy scriptures below…

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations.”

Ezekiel 14:6 (NKJV)

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and bring it about that you walk in My statutes, and are careful and [a]follow My ordinances. And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.

Ezekiel 36:25-28 (NASB)

From this point on, I would like to reach out to the lost and the unsaved people reading this. Are you frustrated with religion? Have you been living in bondage for too long? Did the atheists and secularists fool and abused you? Were you victimized by a religious fanatic? Have you been living as a homosexual? Are you fed up with being promiscuous? You spent an entire life worshiping statues, statuettes, paintings and relics? Are you an anarchist, a toxic person or one of those modern-day Leftist activists who has had enough with darkness? Are you addicted to something for so long? All of that darkness can end! How? You can save yourselves bysubmitting to the Lord willingly and realize He is the Light! No force and no coercion here. You have time and freedom to decide to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. For those who have decided to get born again now and gain salvation, please read the instructions and follow the prayer that I learned from a pastor.

Are you ready? Firstly, open your heart to the Lord and pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Father God,

I thank You. I believe Jesus is Your Son. I believe that He died for me and redeemed me from all of my sins. He took my sins and, Father, thank You for loving me and You demonstrated Your love for me through Your Son Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all of my sins. Jesus, I open my heart to You. I welcome You to enter into my heart. I confess today that You are now my Lord and Savior. Thank You for forgiveness. I receive forgiveness. Thank You for Your blood that cleansed me from all of my sins. I will follow You, Jesus. Thank You for Your plan. I receive the Holy Spirit. And Holy Spirit, help me to follow the will of God in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God! You have received Holy Spirit in your heart! This is easily your greatest decision ever made and also the greatest miracle of your life. Always praise, thank and honor the Lord. No more darkness in your life caused by politics, radicalism, toxicity, rebellion, religion, unbelief, evil, idolatry, traditions and rituals! Leave behind the darkness of your life and don’t look back to it. Remember that idolatry is evil, Purgatory is a lie, penance is a deception and Satan always used religion and unbelief to prevent people from being saved by the Lord.

With Lord Jesus, you are already moving forward and the best is yet to come! You also have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that is strictly off-limits to others (even to your household members or biological family members).

With your new life realized, make an effort to get yourself copy of the Holy Bible (start with New King James Version), study it and apply its lessons into your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a local Christian church near you and find your place in the spiritual family.  Be planted when the Lord shows you the way! Worship the Lord together with them and always remember that faith, not religion, is essential in your personal relationship with God. When you are at home, be in your room with the door shut and have fellowship with our Heavenly Father. On a personal level, practice Christian Habits here and there. Remember the truth that God rewards the faithful abundantly  and continue to be people of the Word. Declare your love for Him as well!

The Holy Bible is the ultimate authority and nothing else comes close to it for it is the Word of God. Remember always that Lord Jesus did not die on the cross to start religion. He died to redeem us all and showed that we must be led by faith in Him, faith in the Holy Spirit and faith in God the Heavenly Father. He rose from the dead and made His earthly presence felt once more to those who believed in Him. Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven and He promised to return in the future. His return is what we must always remember and keep living with holiness under the watch of God. Living as a Christian is always about the personal relationship with the Lord, and it is certainly not about religion.

In ending this, here are some videos of Christian worship music for you to enjoy and praise the Lord with. Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! 

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Why You Must Stay Planted in a Local Church

Welcome back, fellow Christians and the seekers of Lord Jesus! Previously, I wrote about why one must be planted in a local church and why church hopping does not help. For one thing, the Lord always has a plan for each and every one of us who are His children, and that includes getting planted in a local church. It is the Lord we must prioritize when it comes to being planted in a local church and surely He knows best! Let’s start with a few scriptures from the Holy Bible below…

For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.

Psalm 92:13 (NLT)

Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (TPT)

For this article, I will emphasize more as to why you must stay planted in a local church led by the direction of the Holy Spirit. For those who just got planted by the Lord in a local church in recent times, let me discuss more about being planted.

The terms plant, planting, and planted relate to God’s garden in the Book of Genesis. Physically, a garden is composed of many natural things, most notably plants of varied species from the grass to flowers, to the trees. Of course, in order to establish those, planting must be done (in the case of God, His vast power goes beyond what mortal people could do). It should be noted that God placed Adam in His garden with a true purpose and with His trust. Read the holy scripture below…

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.

Genesis 2:8 (NKJV)

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Genesis 2:15 (NKJV)

In relation to what the Heavenly Father did with Adam and the garden, following His direction on getting yourself planted in a local church always comes with good intentions and benefits for your dedication and worship of Him. The church is not merely a building for worship and certainly not a corrupted religious hierarchy, rather it is a community of God’s faithful children who follow His Word, live by His Word and worship Him in multiple ways. If you are already a child of God (note: read Lord Jesus’ words about getting born again in John 3:3), then you have been anointed and are righteous. That being said, you should have been planted already in a local church (you should have lots of spiritual brothers and sisters by now) and you certainly keep staying planted. Learn from the following scripture below (with a specific line in bold)…

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing, To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

Psalm 92:12-15 (NKJV)

So why stay planted in a local church that God told you to join before? As seen in the above scripture, those who are planted in a place of worship as well as in a community of His other children (your spiritual siblings) shall flourish. You certainly would not want to miss out on that! You certainly do not want to live a troubled life, live with uncertainty and find yourself falling into poverty.

In addition, staying planted is essential because God knows where you are planted in. As I mentioned in my previous article, doing church hopping (moving from one church to another like a nomad) is a waste and your worship gets reduced into a ritual or a tradition. When God tells you to join a local church and stay there until He announces something new for you, you simply follow Him. There are indeed benefits with staying planted and enduring worship of our Lord with other church members that you will get to know.

While staying planted, you will want to align yourself in something strong as Lord Jesus builds up His church. The church is undoubtedly the safest place in the last days. That being said, it is destiny for you to commit yourself when God calls you to be planted. Learn from the scripture below…

But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.

1 Corinthians 12:18 (NKJV)

When you stay planted, you need not worry at all. This is because God knows the best and suitable environment for you. You must allow yourself to accept His planting of you, similar to how certain plants acclimatize in a new location. Anyone who studied plant species, soil, the environment, harvesting and gardening can point out for you what containers, what type of soil and how much water are needed for specific types of plants. Our Heavenly Father knows everything and when He prepares something for you, you only need to have faith in His plan for you. You can easily trust Him and accept His plan or instruction for you without hesitation! Learn from the next scripture below…

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Knowing that you can always trust the Lord and follow whatever He plans for you, you can always move forward with pure certainty that you will flourish when you stay planted in the local church He wanted you to be part of. To make things clear, flourishing does not happen instantly but you can always believe that God’s timing is always reasonable and His plan or promise for you manifests, the outcome is always positive and worth the wait! Flourishing takes time similar to how plants sprout and grow before producing crops or beautiful leaves or produce pollen, and the like.

That being said, you also have the luxury of time to get to know more of the pastor of your local church, keep tithing at least 10% of what you make, interact and pray more with other members of the church, take part in the local bible study activities or the local prayer groups, etc. As you keep pursuing the Lord while staying planted in the local church, you should have no trouble with being patient. You should not worry at all, nor be distracted by the enemy and his pawns. The local church has God’s presence after all. Learn from the following scripture…

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, having cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)

With the Heavenly Father’s love, care, protection and blessing for you established when you stay planted in the local church He chose for you, you will bear fruit! You will mature more spiritually as you keep pursuing Him and live with His Word! As you grow, you will also learn from Him what unnecessary elements you need to let go of in order to keep progressing more and keep moving forward on the path with Him. Learn from what Lord Jesus said in the scripture below…

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

John 15:1-7 (NKJV)

The very powerful words of our Lord and Savior Jesus in the above scripture clearly emphasize that cutting by God needs to be done which will lead to new growth. Once again, the parallels between Lord Jesus being the true vine and plants of the physical world are clear. Look at plants near your place. By looking closely, you should find plants that have some parts that bore fruit and other parts that did not. With regards to faith, we need to maintain ourselves in accordance to what the Lord requires so we can keep on growing spiritually, become stronger as Christians and become more edified (as we live by His Word). Whatever weak parts or weaknesses you have as a Christian right now, you must tell it to the Lord immediately and let Him help you so you can keep on growing in faith and eventually getting edified! Learn from the scripture below…

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NKJV)

The above scripture is in reference to the spiritual gifts from the Lord given to His children whose individual purposes He knows best. Some members of your local church will be chosen by God to become a pastor, or an evangelist or teachers of Christianity in the years to come. As for me, I got born again in 2018 and as I kept pursuing the Lord by absorbing His Word and living by it, I am now a preacher. What further plans God has for me, I will soon find out. Going back to the above scripture, verse 12 had the word “equipping” which, in its Greek form, implies a recovered wholeness as when a broken limb is set and mends, and also a discovered function as when a physical member is properly operating.

Furthermore, take note that the work of ministry is the enterprise of each member of the body of Christ and not the exclusive charge of select leaders. That being said, verses 11 and 12 reveal the task of the gifted leader is to cultivate the individual and corporate ministries of those he or she leads. When it comes to staying planted in the local church the Lord wanted for you, Ephesians 4:11-12 makes clear sense!  

By staying planted in the local church, you will realize your purpose under the Lord through the community that you and many others are part of. This should remind you, once again, that church hopping is not only wasteful, it will also prevent you from realizing your role in the local church. You certainly do not want to miss out on what God has planned for you which can only be realized after you get planted and keep on staying planted in the local church. Ultimately, the Christian is not to be alone and he/she carries the spiritual family role and has responsibilities to live up to under the Lord. Remember, being part of the local church also means you are part of the church of Lord Jesus, God the Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit. Stay planted and progress with the Lord!

From this point on, I would like to reach out to the lost and the unsaved people reading this. Are you frustrated with religion? Have you been living in bondage for too long? Did the non-believers fool you and abused you? Were you victimized by a religious fanatic? You can save yourselves by submitting to the Lord willingly. No force and no coercion here. You have time and freedom to decide to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. For those who have decided to get born again now, please read the instructions and follow the prayer that I learned from our pastor.

Are you ready? Firstly, open your heart to the Lord and pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Dear God,

I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that He is alive! Right now, I call on the name of Jesus. Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me by the power of Your blood. Thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life! Help me now to follow Your plan for my life. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God! You have received Holy Spirit in your heart! This is easily your greatest decision ever made and also the greatest miracle of your life. Always praise, thank and honor the Lord. No more darkness in your life caused by politics, radicalism, toxicity, rebellion, religion, unbelief, evil, idolatry, traditions and rituals! Leave behind the darkness of your life and don’t look back to it. Remember that idolatry is evil, Purgatory is a lie, penance is a deception and Satan always used religion and unbelief to prevent people from being saved by the Lord.

With Lord Jesus, you are already moving forward and the best is yet to come! You also have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that is strictly off-limits to others (even to your household members or biological family members).

With your new life realized, make an effort to get yourself copy of the Holy Bible (start with New King James Version), study it and apply its lessons into your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a local Christian church near you and find your place in the spiritual family.  Be planted when the Lord shows you the way! Worship the Lord together with them and always remember that faith, not religion, is essential in your personal relationship with God. When you are at home, be in your room with the door shut and have fellowship with our Heavenly Father. On a personal level, practice Christian Habits here and there.

The Holy Bible is the ultimate authority and nothing else comes close. The Holy Bible is the Word of God. Remember always that Lord Jesus did not die on the cross to start religion. He died to redeem us all and showed that we must be led by faith in Him, faith in the Holy Spirit and faith in God the Heavenly Father. He rose from the dead and made His earthly presence felt once more to those who believed in Him. Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven and He promised to return in the future. His return is what we must always remember and keep living with holiness under the watch of God. Living as a Christian is always about the personal relationship with the Lord, and it is certainly not about religion.

In ending this, here are some videos of Christian worship music for you to enjoy and praise the Lord with. Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! 

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #4 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back Ultraverse fans, geeks and fellow comic book collectors! If you want to discover more of the fantasy elements within the Ultraverse through Mantra – the pretty sorceress whose body is occupied by the soul of a male warrior named Lukasz – then you are in for something rather different.

To put things in perspective, the fantasy-swords-magic concept was made clear in Mantra #1 and that Lukasz and his band of warriors (led by an elder sorcerer) as well as their enemies (led by Boneyard) were definitely from another world. That other world will be explored at last in this look back at Mantra #4, published in 1993 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the world of Boneyard, at his castle specifically. Down on her knees, Mantra is just in front of the villain Boneyard who says, “So this is Archimage’s last, best hope. Just a woman!!”

Boneyard tells Mantra not to rise nor move. As he does not yet know that Lukasz is inside Mantra’s body, Boneyard welcomes her and states that it is his right to choose any woman in his kingdom as his bride. In reaction to being selected as Boneyard’s newest mate with a purpose to potentially give birth to his children, Mantra strikes him with an energy blast symbolically rejecting him.

Boneyard then says, “Enough. I tolerate this dissent because your body carries much potential for magic, woman. It is only your body that saves you from death. Your bewildering loyalty to my defeated brother, Archimage, would ordinarily be enough to condemn you. Your genes, combined with mine will yield children to whom magic comes as easily as taking breath.”

As the villain talks, Mantra notices the sword pointed at her was the same one used to kill her when she was man (as Lukasz). She then makes moves to get Boneyard off-balanced and try to leave the castle…

Quality

Mantra visits the tavern in the kingdom controlled by Boneyard.

I’ll start with the writing. What Mike W. Barr did here successfully was raising the stakes for Mantra which involves the drastic change of location and setting from the modern society of Earth into the fantasy realm where Boneyard and his army are based in. The mentioned change literally opened new opportunities to develop Mantra’s personality while at the same time offered readers a lot of new things and places for their exploration.

With the all-new setting, lots of fantasy genre tropes are present. There is the ever-present tavern filled with lots of people that include humans and non-human beings that go beyond dwarves and elves. There is also the slave auction of both men and women standing almost nakedly in front of the bidders. There also were people wearing capes, hoods, swords, spears and armor which Mantra smoothly blends in with.

Along the way, there is a lot spectacle here mainly acts of magic alternated with hard action moves. The way the spectacle is presented fits in excellently with the fantasy setting and I should state that Robb Phipps did a very solid job visualizing such elements while succeeding in making Mantra, Boneyard, Archimage and Warstrike look recognizable.

Back to the writing, Mike W. Barr prepared a lot of details in the story that explained Boneyard’s nature and even his status as the husband of multiple wives. This comic book also reveals that Boneyard is likely bisexual since, apart from being married to multiple women, he kissed Mantra and lusts for her even AFTER he learned that Lukasz is occupying the woman’s body. His intention to marry Mantra symbolizes homosexuality as well. To put things in perspective, this makes Boneyard very guilty of sexual immorality on top of his wickedness. Refer to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (sexual immorality and homosexuality), Galatians 5:19-21 (sorcery and sexual immorality) and Deuteronomy 17:17 (polygamy) in the Holy Bible.

Conclusion

Boneyard’s intention to marry Mantra (whose body is occupied by the soul of the male eternal warrior Lukasz) and impregnate her to produce his children is disgusting, even more so when the villain knows Lukasz is in Mantra.

To say the least, Mantra #4 (1993) is entertaining enough mainly due to its fantasy setting and exposing key elements about the rivalry between Archimage and Boneyard. This was a daring and refreshing change of pace for Mantra series since the first three issues already emphasized Lukasz’s struggles on living in the body of Eden Blake (note: reincarnation is false and goes against the Holy Bible, read Hebrews 9:27 and Psalm 78:39 for insight) and living with her family as Eden’s soul was pushed into limbo. More notably, this issue shows more of how evil and wicked Boneyard is not simply because of his leading his army of evildoers but also because of his evil-filled nature. By comparison, Lukasz/Mantra is the lesser evil to Boneyard under the pretense of good-versus-evil in the story (which itself concluded in a predictable and underwhelming fashion).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #4 (1993), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #4 (1993) is satisfactory.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christian Habits (Part 1)

As children of God, being faithful is essential. Along the way, we must ensure that our faith in the Lord is always strong. It is understood we study the Holy Bible (God’s Word), apply its lessons into our lives no matter what situations we are in, worship the Lord together as a spiritual family on Sunday worship services, and pray in tongues to Him every day.

To add to those, we must also develop Christian habits. As you can see in the title of this article, this is the first of a short series of literary pieces about living with Christian habits. For this article, we will focus on having habits meant to strengthen our faith in God the Heavenly Father, His Son Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Having Christian habits will keep a Christian strong, protected from the enemy and stay victorious. More on gaining habits that will keep us stay strong in faith and lead us on His path, we’ll start off with the following holy scriptures.

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6: 6-10 (NKJV)

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in the mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

James 1: 21-25 (NKJV)

But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.

1 Timothy 4: 7 (NKJV)

In Galatians 6: 6-10, the apostle Paul applied the general principle of sowing and reaping to the support of those who teach Christianity, to moral behavior and to Christian service. Flesh is mentioned and it is the opposite of the spirit, which is why as Christians still living in the flesh on this screwed-up world we live in, we must strive hard to be very faithful to God and live with His Word in our respective lives in a disciplined and rightful manner. As such, this means we must develop habits not of the flesh but of Christianity. Christian habits will help prevent us from falling off the path of the Lord. People who are trapped by religion, by comparison, practiced unholy habits and rituals like idol worship for example. James 1: 21-25 meanwhile is a very lively reminder that we must be doers of the word and never be limited to hearing only. Verse 21 explains that salvation comes not from the use of worldly methods, but from a meek, gentle acceptance of the implanted word. Verse 22 explains that salvation leads to service and that it is self-deceiving to believe that God’s goal for church attendance is merely hearing the word instead of experiencing a transformation of life that results in ministry. Verse 23 to 25 emphasizes that those who act on the word (implementing God’s Word in life) will be blessed while those who are limited to hearing or listening won’t be blessed. 1 Timothy 4: 7 is about rejecting godless myths and other forms of falsehood that will get in the way of following the Lord. Developing Christian habits will remind us to live with God’s Word.

Now that we’re done with Galatians 6: 6-10, James 1: 21-25 and 1 Timothy 4: 7, we can proceed with the ways on developing Christian habits by remembering always that we were created to serve the Lord, glorify Him and do His will! We are all meant to follow the Lord! Let’s start with the following scripture…

Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me fines life, And obtains favor from the LORD.

Proverbs 8: 34-35 (NKJV)

Christian Habit #1 – prioritizing God and His Word.

The above holy scripture should remind each of us to listen to the Lord, discern and make decisions carefully. To make decisions and take action that are not in accordance to the will of God will only lead to hardship and even unholiness. It does not matter that we experience feelings in each of our respective circumstances because God’s Word is essential. Feelings are misleading and we can suffer or even drift away from Him if we rely on them for guidance. As Pastor Donna Crouch of Hillsong Church stated before, we Christians are not the sum total of what we feel! We are not supposed to be prisoners of our feelings! Feelings should never separate us from the Lord! The truth is, whether you are in joy, in pain, in disappointment, in anger, in confusion or in an optimistic state, you must always prioritize the Lord and follow Him. This is why we have the Holy Bible which is a truly living publication that never fails to guide faithful Christians.

This brings me to another point within the first Christian habit – always feed on God’s Word. You should make it a daily habit each morning ahead to grab the Holy Bible, open it and read it. Do not reach for your smartphone, reach for the Holy Bible first and foremost. After reading, take time to pray to Him. Pray in tongues while you are in your room with the door shut as you have fellowship with God who is in the secret place. Let this be how you start each new morning ahead of you. Be assured that doing this will keep you strong and be able to resist the devil and his wicked ways.

More on feeding on the Word of God, let’s look at the following scriptures below…

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4: 4 (NKJV)

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

Jeremiah 29: 12

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and might things, which you do not know.

Jeremiah 33: 3 (NKJV)

Matthew 4: 4 above is one of the most powerful expressions in the Holy Bible that God’s Word is truly essential, and Lord Jesus spoke those words as He rejected Satan who tried to tempt Him. Truly, we are the creations of God and without Him we really cannot survive and cannot enter His kingdom. The scripture also marks Lord Jesus’ appeal to Scriptures which provides the clue for interpreting the Temptation narrative. Using God’s Word, Lord Jesus triumphed over the same temptations to which Israel had succumbed during the time in the wilderness, when they forced a test upon God in time of need. As this was one of Lord Jesus’ early victories, we the faithful Christians must follow His example and keep feeding on the Word of God.

Jeremiah 29: 12 and Jeremiah 33: 3 make it clear that communication with the Lord by means of praying wholeheartedly is essential. We must pray to Him every day and such communication is a top priority! Do not limit your fellowship with God to Sunday worship services and meal prayers. Pray to God every day! Are you busy at work? You can pray to Him during your free time and somehow you can find yourself some privacy somewhere when you are out of your home. To pray to Him is to feed on God’s Word.

As mentioned earlier, having Christian habits will keep you strong and protected from the enemy. Learn from the scripture below…

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, ‘I have overcome the world.’”

John 16: 33 (NKJV)

John 16: 33 makes clear that even in the midst of a crisis or persecution, there is indeed joyful peace in the certainty of the victory Lord Jesus achieved long ago. Tribulations are part of this screwed-up world we all live in and remember that Adam’s rebellion towards God granted Satan dominion. As such, prioritizing God and feeding on His Word always will keep you strong spiritually and you will be able to overcome opposition as well as any crisis. As long as we are edified and stand with God, nothing is impossible! Next scripture…

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

1 John 5: 4 (NKJV)

The above scripture reconfirms that the victory of Lord Jesus is true and very real for as long as we have faith! Religion is not mentioned at all. It is faith that will ensure our rightful place in the kingdom of God as His children as well as the citizens of His kingdom. This brings me to the next point – spending time with the Lord and having fellowship with Him every day is essential. Each of us faithful Christians must make time for the Word of God by reading the Holy Bible. Are you busy with video games or a sports activity during your free time? Put God’s Word first before you enjoy those. It should be noted that due to all the hectic activities of local societies, Christians encounter a lot of problems because they failed to make it a daily habit to prioritize God and His Word. Now, you know better.

Christian Habit #2 – build up your faith.

Let’s start with the scripture below…

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

1 Samuel 30: 6 (NKJV)

The above scripture shows that David took great responsibility with his faith in God. Even though he was grieving to the point of exhaustion, he did not give up. Instead David used the occasion to strengthen himself in the Lord, and this was at the same time when many other people gave in to their feelings (grief) and decided to take his life.

The point here was that even in a very difficult situation, David built up his faith and looked up to the Lord. That being said, we Christians must always take responsibility with the faith we have. Remember that God gave us His grace and our faith is clearly our responsibility. We must always strive hard to deepen and strengthen our faith in Him. It is also clear that it is according to your faith what you will receive from God. In the case of David, God gave him strength.

Powerful faith can make tremendous differences in your life. That includes miracles. All the more reason to build up your faith and be very responsible as well. Learn from the following scripture below…

who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Hebrews 11: 33-34 (NKJV)

As confirmed above, the power of faith in the Lord is undeniably true. How can you build up your faith? By hearing the Word of God and implementing the lessons learned into your personal life. Symbolically, faith is the seed in your heart. The Word of God is the water of life for the seed (faith). As such, studying the Holy Bible all over again is essential and when you live by it, God’s additions to your faith will be added and then blessings, guidance and enlightenment from Him will manifest! I know because I personally experienced these since I got born again.

Keep hearing on God’s Word again, again and again. It sounds repetitive but be assured that each time you learn from God’s word, you will learn something new and refreshing. You should listen carefully to pastors whom God has chosen to spread the Word through churches and its members who have been planted. As you implement the lessons into your daily life, you will not only get blessed by the Lord, you can become a blessing to others.

Be lively with your faith. Be discerning. Be led by the Holy Spirit. Guard your faith well by guarding the Words of God from other words that are contrary. Clear your heart and make sure that it will not get filled with unholy and wicked influences. By building up your faith as a habit, you will be able to follow the Lord all the way!

Christian habit #3 – speak the Word of God

Let’s start with these holy scriptures…

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Proverbs 18: 21 (NKJV)

“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”

Mark 11: 23 (NKJV)

There is indeed a need for each of us Christians to speak God’s Word to others wholeheartedly. Preach the Word verbally or do it online by means of blogging, tweeting, messaging and emailing to others. Before doing these, however, each of us must be very careful about what to say. As Christians, we are a peculiar people (refer to 1 Peter 2: 9) that the many unsaved and lost souls we co-exist with in this screwed-up world cannot understand. There will be opposition towards Christianity, so be ready to brace yourselves.

That being said, once you are ready for the world, maintain unwavering faith in the Lord to gain courage and go out saying God’s words, preaching the truth, the good news and help strengthen the faith of your fellow Christians (note: be a blessing to others).

Along the way, you must not waste your tongue to speak death. Certainly you should not add to the negativity that exist around us for it is not God’s way. Again, you must keep on-track with the Lord’s path by saying His words. Truly, when you say what God says, He will make good things happen in response to what you declared.

For clarity, what Lord Jesus said in Mark 11: 23 was about the power of faith in the Christian’s heart and such power can help one overcome great obstacles or challenges (which the mountain mentioned in the scripture symbolizes). Faith is indeed the key that releases the resources of heaven into a faithful Christian’s situation. In Proverbs 18: 21, the tongue’s power is greatly emphasized because with it, a person can make declarations and influence others. To speak death is to declare life’s negatives as well as defeat or constant complaining. To speak life is to speak God’s perspective on any issue of life.

Ultimately, we must be very careful with the way we use our tongue. As Christians, the real and definitive way of using our tongues is by declaring God’s words and the truth as recorded in the Holy Bible.  

So there you have it! The first three Christian habits emphasized here are: Prioritizing God and His Word; Building up your Faith; and Speaking the Word of God. No matter what happens, you must always have strong, unwavering faith in the Lord and that includes putting God’s Word in your heart on a daily basis. As mentioned earlier, having Christian habits will keep you strong under the Lord, protected from the enemy and help prevent you from going off the path of the Lord. Sometime in the future, another set of Christian habits will be presented here. To end this teaching, here is one final holy scripture for you all…

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

1 Corinthians 16: 13 (NKJV)

From this point on, I would like to reach out to the lost and the unsaved people reading this. You can save yourselves by submitting to the Lord willingly. No force and no coercion here. You have time and freedom to decide to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. For those who have decided to get born again now, please read the instructions and follow the prayer that I learned from our pastor.

Are you ready? Firstly, open your heart to the Lord and pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Dear God,

I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that He is alive! Right now, I call on the name of Jesus. Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me by the power of Your blood. Thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life! Help me now to follow Your plan for my life. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God! You have received Holy Spirit in your heart! This is easily your greatest decision ever made and also the greatest miracle of your life. Always praise, thank and honor the Lord. No more darkness in your life caused by politics, radicalism, toxicity, rebellion, religion, unbelief, evil, idolatry, traditions and rituals! Leave behind the darkness of your life and don’t look back to it. Remember that idolatry is evil, Purgatory is a lie, penance is a deception and Satan always uses religion and unbelief to prevent people from being saved by the Lord. With unwavering faith in God, you can defeat Satan and all those forms of evil.

With Lord Jesus, you are already moving forward! You also have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that is strictly off-limits to others (even to your household members or biological family members).

With your new life realized, make an effort to acquire a copy of the Holy Bible (start with New King James Version), study it and apply its lessons into your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a Christian church near you and find your place in the spiritual family.  Be planted when the Lord shows you the way! Worship the Lord together with them and always remember that faith, not religion, is essential in your personal relationship with God.

The Holy Bible is the ultimately authority and nothing else comes close. Remember always that Lord Jesus did not die on the cross to start religion. He died to redeem us all and showed that we must be led by faith in Him, faith in the Holy Spirit and faith in God the Heavenly Father. He rose from the dead and made His earthly presence felt once more to those who believed in Him. Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven and He promised to return in the future.

In ending this, here are some Christian worship YouTube videos for you to enjoy and praise the Lord with. Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! 

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Realizing the good life from the Lord

We all want the good life. In fact, we need the good life! As we live in the flesh in the middle of a very screwed-up world that has long been ravaged by Satan, it is clear that without God, without the Holy Spirit and without Lord Jesus, we cannot survive both physically and spiritually. Unbelief misled many people to believe they can survive and prosper on their own but ultimately, they end up being unhappy, lost and unsaved spiritually. For its part, religion (along with its traditions, rituals and idolatry) misled people into believing they are Christians when in fact they end up wasting their lives following a whole bunch of rules from many man-made doctrines (described as blessed sacraments) which ultimately keep them away from the Lord. Religion also misled people into believing the falsehood that being religious, idolatrous, traditional and ritual-oriented is the same as being faithful to the Lord.  

As Christians led by faith, we all had to go through the process of conversion (getting born again in accordance to what Lord Jesus stated in John 3: 3), studying and living the Word of God (the Holy Bible), submitting to Him and establishing personal relationships with Him. We are His creations and there really is no other way apart from living in holiness and doing our responsibilities as Christians, as citizens of God’s Kingdom and as His children.

The Lord will not abandon us (refer to Jeremiah 29: 11) and He knows well we need to have a good life. We are His children after all. To live the Christian life here on Earth does not necessarily mean living an easy life but being blessed, guided, directed and protected by Him. It naturally means not suffering the emptiness, the sadness and hardship of the lost and unsaved people around us. They need help and saving. They don’t realize it but they need to know the Lord and start having faith in Him.

As I mentioned some time ago, the Lord blesses the faithful abundantly. God is our source and His promises of prosperity are true and He always keeps His promises (refer to Genesis 39: 2-6, Psalm 1: 1-3, Hebrews 6: 10-12, Deuteronomy 8: 18, Jeremiah 17: 7, Genesis 13: 2, Leviticus 26: 3-5, Psalm 35: 27 and Psalm 37: 3-11). As faithful children of the Lord, we can enjoy riches and luxuries and never feel ashamed nor worried as we know that the blessings came from the Lord who worked legally through the existing financial systems of this screwed-up world we live in. In short, God always finds a way and His timing always makes sense. We need to be patient with Him and still believe in His works to bless us no matter how bad or how good our situation is.

Of course, as blessed children of His, we must never ever let riches and abundance separate us from Him. God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit must always be prioritized. The Lord is our source and therefore we would not be enjoying the blessings without Him. As such, we must never ever fall into the temptation of covetousness which leads to greed. To be covetous means to obsessively acquire wealth and things that ultimately will not satisfy the lust of acquiring more than what is realistically needed. Covetousness also means the corruption of the soul and getting separated from the Lord. Earthly things that are acquired without prioritizing the Lord are clearly not blessings from Him. Learn from the following holy scriptures below…

He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he loves abundance, with increase. This is also vanity

Ecclesiastes 5: 10 (NKJV)

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, not covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)

Speaking to the people, Jesus continued, “Be alert and guard your heart from greed and always wishing for what you don’t have. For your life can never be measured by the amount of things you possess.”

Luke 12: 15 (TPT)

“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Acts 20: 35 (NKJV)

As you can see, it is written in the Holy Bible that covetousness and greed are destructive. Becoming materialistic is bad! To be dominated by covetousness and greed means giving in to the love for wealth and material things which also means cutting yourself away from God, our ultimate creator and source! Lord Jesus’ words about guarding our hearts from greed clearly shows that we should not only be mindful of what is happening but always resist the temptation of acquiring too much and going beyond our needs. There are many people around us who believe in the falsehood that acquiring too much and obsessing for more all the time is part of the good life the Lord has in store for them. That is simply distorted and untrue! There are truly limits on what we need and how much in blessings we can receive. The abundant blessings we receive from God is great enough, and we certainly should not become covetous. God truly does NOT want us Christians to live in poverty (a curse from Satan) and He surely wants us to be disciplined with the way we live, the way we use His blessings and the like.

How to keep ourselves in check and be more responsible with the abundant blessings we receive from the Lord? You can start with tithing, the guaranteed giving back of 10% of your income to Him through your local church. Next, you can be a blessing to others by cheerfully giving something (in cash or in kind) to someone you are willing to share the Lord’s blessings with. If you know a fellow Christian at church trying to raise money for a planned bible-led outreach, then you have the opportunity to donate to that person so he or she can succeed in preaching the Word of God and saving lost souls. Cheerfully giving back to the Lord and blessing others are effective ways to prevent yourself from becoming selfish, greedy and covetous. Lord Jesus’ own words that it is more blessed to give than to receive is in reference to our time as well as our money, and that supporting the weak (the less fortunate) is something He desires for us to do for it is His nature to give. When we become blessings to others, we do it cheerfully and do it in accordance to the character of Lord Jesus. These ways are truly part of the good life from the Lord.

Of course, in opposite to the covetous and the greedy, there is a bunch of people out there who cannot help but be extremely obsessed with anti-materialism. These are lost and unsaved souls who do more than just tell you to avoid being materialistic. They will express their wrongful beliefs that money is the root of all evil (note: money itself is actually neutral and is a useful tool in receiving blessings from the Lord), that you are not meant to prosper (note: this puts them at odds with God and they don’t realize it), and that the only people to support (by means of donation) in the entire world are the impoverished (note: God’s provision is NOT exclusive to the impoverished).

I even encountered one of these anti-materialism fanatics. She is so obsessed with her wrongful beliefs, she seems willing to someday leave her children with not much left to survive with only because she believes money is cursed and wealth is immoral. She also made clear her personal beliefs that prosperity from God is not true and that poverty is not a curse. She does not know the truth written in the Holy Bible. This is the result of her living a life dominated by religion, idols, traditions, wrongful theology and rituals. As such, these lost souls and unsaved souls blinded by anti-materialism obsessions need saving and they need to be prayed for.

As such, being blessed by the Lord and being disciplined (rejecting fully covetousness greed) and being responsible (having our needs met and being able to give back to Him and bless others we could) with what we received are part of the good life from Him.

More on the good life from God, it is undeniably true that Lord Jesus offers us peace and joy that the world itself cannot match nor replicate. Pay close attention to His words in the following bible scriptures below.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John 14: 27 (NKJV)

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”

John 15: 11 (NKJV)

John 14: 27 is about the ultimate form of peace that only Lord Jesus can give to those who truly believe in Him. By comparison, worldly peace made by governments, or a truce between rival factions, or special agreements made between powerful groups are all temporary, ultimately fragile and each are bound to break down in due time (which can lead to another bout of fighting, even wars). With Lord Jesus’ peace, you can be assured that the said peace is eternal and will never get corrupted. This is why we should not let our hearts be burdened with pain, worry and doubts under Him.

As for John 15: 11, it emphasizes that our joy becomes full through experiencing Jesus’ own joy within us. To be full of happiness, hope and rest with Him is easily connected with His telling us not to have troubled hearts.

Being born again, we Christians must always keep the Holy Spirit in our hearts and eternally be faithful to the Lord, living by His Word (the Holy Bible). What we study in the Holy Bible, we apply the lessons in our lives.

By comparison, a person who does not have the Holy Spirit in his heart is very vulnerable to temptation and evil. Satan knows this and he knows that for as long as people do not believe in the Lord or are living with religion (along with idolatry, traditions, wrongful theology and rituals) that prevent them from achieving true faith in God, they are easy to be manipulated to serve his evil purposes. The enemy knows how to cause chaos around people and then reach inside the lost and unsaved souls to bring out more wickedness. Satan obviously does not want people to know the Lord and he manipulates them to suffer and live the painful life instead of having a blessed, good life from God. Take a close look at the following bible verses below…

“Evil originates from inside a person. Coming out of a human heart are evil schemes, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, treachery, debauchery, jealousy, slander, arrogance, and recklessness. All these corrupt things emerge from within and constantly pollute a person.”

Mark 7: 21-23 (TPT)

What is the cause of your conflicts and quarrels with each other? Doesn’t the battle begin inside of you as you fight to have your own way and fulfill your own desires? You jealously want what others have so you begin to see yourself as better than others. You scheme with envy and harm others to selfishly obtain what you crave—that’s why you quarrel and fight. And all the time you don’t obtain what you want because you won’t ask God for it!

James 4: 1-2 (TPT)

A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!

John 10: 10 (TPT)

As you can see in the above scriptures, having the Holy Spirit in our hearts and dedicating ourselves to the Lord are truly essential. Without the Holy Spirit in us, we would have been very vulnerable to the temptations and manipulations of the enemy. Satan rules over people who are not edified under the Lord and it is easy for him to manipulate the unsaved person into giving in to wickedness, temptations, strife, violence, greed, immorality and destruction to name some. To put things in perspective, Satan gained dominion when Adam rebelled against God and, as written in the Holy Bible, this led to a downward spiral for humanity. Committing sinful and unrighteous acts became too common among people before the Great Flood happened.

Before gaining the Holy Spirit in our hearts upon getting born again, our hearts contained no holiness. We were vulnerable to wickedness, to the impulse and lust of the flesh, and we were too easy to be manipulated by Satan to commit sin. Now that we know the truth in the Holy Bible and we know better, we Christians can defeat Satan by having strong faith in the Lord and doing His Word in our lives. Strong faith and being a doer of God’s Word are essential for us to gain the good life from Him. Always remember that Lord Jesus is the definitive Savior of us all and He always restores believers who previously suffered from the darkness caused by the enemy!

Now pay close attention to the following holy scriptures below…

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3: 3 (NKJV)

“Don’t keep hoarding for yourselves earthly treasures that can be stolen by thieves. Material wealth eventually rusts, decays, and loses its value. Instead, stockpile heavenly treasures for yourselves that cannot be stolen and will never rust, decay, or lose their value.”

Matthew 6: 19-20 (TPT)

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

Matthew 6: 31-33 (NKJV)

About the above scriptures, let me declare to you – my readers and fellow faithful Christians – that becoming born again is truly the greatest miracle that happened in my life. In my old life, I gone through decades of pointless religion and even several years of being faithless. I responded to the Lord’s call when my dearest friend in life invited me to her church, and then weeks later I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. What He stated in John 3: 3 is undeniably true! My life has turned around for the better and I now know my true purpose under the Lord.

Matthew 6: 19-20 confirms the existence of wealth in the kingdom of God which we, His children, will inherit. What blessings we receive from the Lord while living in the flesh here on Earth are not only temporary but are just a fraction of kingdom wealth. Kingdom wealth is so much greater than all of the wealth of this screwed-up world. As such, Matthew 6: 31-33 confirms that the Lord is watching us all the time and He definitely knows our needs and in due time, He will keep blessing us. That being said, the very least we Christians must do is seek God’s kingdom and achieve holiness under Him. Pursue God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and then the good life He planned for us filled with peace, prosperity, stability and happiness will manifest.

At this point, I would like to reach out to the lost and the unsaved people reading this. You can save yourselves by submitting to the Lord willingly. No force and no coercion here. You have time and freedom to decide. For those who have decided to get born again now, please read the instructions and follow the prayer that I learned from our pastor.

Are you ready? Firstly, open your heart to the Lord and pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Dear God,

I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that He is alive! Right now, I call on the name of Jesus. Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me by the power of Your blood. Thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life! Help me now to follow Your plan for my life. Amen.

Congratulations! You are now a child of God! You have received Holy Spirit in your heart! This is easily your greatest decision ever made and also the greatest miracle of your life. Always praise, thank and honor the Lord. No more darkness in your life caused by politics, radicalism, toxicity, rebellion, religion, unbelief, evil, idolatry, traditions and rituals! Leave behind the darkness of your life and don’t look back to it. With Lord Jesus, you are already moving forward! You also have a personal relationship with God, a relationship that is strictly off-limits to others (even to your household members or biological family members).

With your new life realized, make an effort to acquire a copy of the Holy Bible (New King James Version is recommended), study it and apply its lessons into your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a church of born-again Christians near you and find your place in the spiritual family (God’s family).  Worship the Lord together with them and always remember that faith, not religion, is essential in your personal relationship with God.

The Holy Bible is the ultimate authority and nothing else comes close. Remember always that Lord Jesus did not die on the cross to start religion. He died to redeem us all and showed that we must be led by faith in Him, faith in the Holy Spirit and faith in God the Heavenly Father. He rose from the dead and made His earthly presence felt once more to those who believed in Him. Lord Jesus ascended to Heaven and He promised to return in the future.

In ending this, here are some Christian worship YouTube videos for you to enjoy and praise the Lord with. Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus! 

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Mantra #12 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Hey everyone! Welcome back to my continuing effort on reviewing Ultraverse comic books of Malibu Comics from the 1990s. This time we will continue on the crossover between Mantra and The Strangers that started in The Strangers #13.

What I enjoyed most in The Strangers #13 is the interaction between Mantra and members of the superhero team as well as how Boneyard (mortal enemy of Mantra’s) impacts them. It comes to show that careful research of the characters and planning were done to ensure not only a very good story but one that makes mixing Mantra and the Strangers together memorable.

Will the high quality of story, art and crossing over continue? We can find out in the 2nd chapter of the Mantra-Strangers crossover in Mantra #12, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and illustrated by Terry Dodson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Mantra and the Strangers facing Boneyard, his companions and demons. Boneyard has Atom Bob held captive for his magic use. Determined to kill Boneyard, Mantra draws first blood by blasting one of the demons. Due to having weakened powers, Mantra struggles in battle until Electrocute helps taking the other demons off.

As the battle goes on, Boneyard (aided with Notch’s power) makes his move towards Mantra and touches her body with his….

Quality

Action in the city.

The script written by Mike W. Barr (in coordination with Steve Englehart of The Strangers) is pretty solid in the sense that it took the interactions between Mantra and the Strangers a few levels deeper which paved the way for some character revelations and further development of varied personalities. To say the least, this one is pretty wordy and there was clear effort to define the characters even as the struggle went on. There were also common things between Boneyard and Yrial that was nicely explored when it comes to their respective abilities.

This comic book daringly touched on gender issues, particularly with the ever unholy topic of homosexuality (note: read 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 in the Holy Bible) and even rape. There was this lesbian kiss scene between Electrocute and Mantra. Also it is made clear that even though Boneyard knows Mantra really is male warrior Lukasz occupying a female body, the said villain still wants to mate with the protagonist.

On the visuals, I found this one really looking odd even though it was credited to Terry Dodson. His art here really looked cartoony, so much so it’s almost as if someone else drew it. Try comparing Dodson’s art here with what he did in issue #1 and you will see what I mean.

Conclusion

At the coast.

While it is well written, I should say that the crossover between the protagonist and the featured superhero team could have ended better. Compared to the conclusions of the Prototype-Strangers and Hardcase-Strangers crossovers, Mantra #12 ended up lacking punch. As an anniversary issue, it is serviceable.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #12 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #12 (1994) is recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Christian Music Appreciation: All Things

God truly knows the best for us and He knows when to act when we the faithful and the righteous make errors or go the wrong way. As clearly stated in Hebrews 13: 5-6, Deuteronomy 31: 6 and Psalm 55: 22, the Lord will never abandon us, He will never forsake us because He loves us. The Lord is our redeemer, reformer, protector, provider and our Eternal Father.

Truly the Lord knows how and when to work on all things for our good…each and every one of us. This brings me to the next worship song for this latest edition of my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series…All Things.

All Things was performed by Covenant Worship and it was part of their 2017 album Sand and Stars. The song itself is beautiful and also ideal to stir up the hearts of Christians praying to the Lord during Sunday worship service. It is also ideal for other church activities that will involve the use of music.

That being said, below are the lyrics of the worship song All Things, followed by an analysis of its relevance with the Holy Bible.

This heavy load

Was never mine to bear

So I cast my cares upon You Lord

This weary road

I’ve traveled for so long

Would You take my hand and lead me on

You are working all things for my good

You are working all things for my good

When I cannot see it

God, I still believe it

You are working all things for my good

When troubles come

And nights are filled with tears

I will fix my eyes upon the One

Whose perfect love has conquered every fear

Hold me in Your everlasting arms

I see it breaking

On the horizon

The dark of night

Giving way to the dawn

The day is coming

And hope is rising

Your joy will be my strength

Your joy will be my song

I know You’re working

I know You’re working

In all things, in all things

To begin with, the following lyrics – This heavy load, Was never mine to bear, So I cast my cares upon You Lord, This weary road, I’ve traveled for so long, Would You take my hand and lead me on – means that under the Lord, we are taken cared of and even though we each have our own challenges and responsibilities as a result of our respective circumstances, we Christians are still part of His family and kingdom. Being a child of God does not necessarily mean to have an easy life while living in the flesh. No matter what happens, we Christians must never lose faith in Him. If you are troubled, come to Lord Jesus and believe in Him always. Truly as Christians, there is no reason for us to worry or to live in pain because the Lord is our protector, provider, savior! As such, the mentioned lyrics point to the following holy scriptures for relevance.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matthew 11: 28-30 (NKJV)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

1 Peter 5: 6-7 (NKJV)

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.

Philippians 4: 6-7 (TPT)

The next lines to examine are as follows: You are working all things for my good, When I cannot see it God, I still believe it, You are working all things for my good. To begin with, we are all creations of God and before we were even created, He made plans for each and every one of us. As such, we must live with His Word (the Holy Bible) and apply His lessons into our lives no matter how complicated living in the flesh in the middle of our screwed-up world is. We must never lose faith in Him. We have to keep trusting Him, honoring Him, praising Him and thanking Him! Whatever plans God made for us – good plans and lots of hope – we must keep believing in those plans even though it has yet to manifest. Never lose patience because God keeps His promises always, and when the time comes, the manifestation of His plans will be greater than you can imagine. As such, the most fitting holy scripture for the above lyrics is presented below…

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8: 28 (NKJV)

The next lines to examine are as follows: When troubles come, And nights are filled with tears, I will fix my eyes upon the One, Whose perfect love has conquered every fear, Hold me in Your everlasting arms. As it is clear that the Lord will NEVER abandon us nor forsake us faithful Christians, keep believing that the Lord always works to spare the faithful from trouble and danger. As seen around the world, there are mobs causing trouble, terrorists attacking people and places, criminals victimizing the innocent, people living in deep poverty and the like. Trouble, danger, wickedness, fear, hatred, destruction, evil, poverty, curses and senseless deaths around the world are all works of Satan who was granted dominion by Adam very long ago. It was Lord Jesus who redeemed the world and defeated Satan, and this is proof of God’s plan for His faithful children to be freed from the curse (of Adam’s rebellion) and live on to be faithful to Him. Do not forget that God will punish severely those who persecute His children. Truly God hates injustice and wickedness! The above lyrics can be pointed to the following holy scriptures below.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10: 13 (NKJV)

But the LORD is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.

2 Thessalonians 3: 3 (NKJV)

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.

Romans 12: 19 (NKJV)

The next lines to examine are as follows: I see it breaking, On the horizon, The dark of night, Giving way to the dawn, The day is coming, And hope is rising. Lesson? The Lord truly loves us and He will always be our provider, our protector, our Father, and lead the way for breakthroughs for as long as we are faithful to Him and live by His Word. Under the Lord, we the faithful and righteous children of His will be blessed, be defended, be guided, be prosperous and be filled with His peace. Any trouble happening in your life right now is only temporary and the darkness will be overwhelmed by His light in due time. If you are living in darkness (of religion or unbelief, idols, traditions and rituals) then it you can decide to get born again and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Refer to the following holy scriptures below…

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29: 11 (NKJV)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15: 13 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3: 3 (NKJV)

“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

Deuteronomy 8: 18 (NKJV)

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.”

Jeremiah 17: 7 (NKJV)

So there you have it! All Things is truly a very holy worship song, and I highly recommend it be played by your church musicians.

In concluding this CMA article, embedded below are YouTube videos of All Things in the forms of a lyric video from Integrity Music, a live performance by David and Nicole Binion, and a live performance by COG Worship (starting at 24:42 on the time). Enjoy these videos and remember that the Lord is not only watching us all but also working and taking care of us. The Lord is truly working on all things for our good! Always be the fearless and aggressive church of Lord Jesus!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Sharing this Christian piece means spreading the good news of the Lord to others. It can help you save the unsaved and the lost souls out there.

If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com