To my dear readers

Dearest Most Darling Reader,

My website hosting is weird. Half the time it doesn’t let me in to blog. In its eagerness to protect me from hackers it even blocks ME! And the server people don’t work on weekends (when I have more time to blog) so by the time I’m allowed back in to work, my inspiration has flown to the land of missing socks.

That is part of the reason why I haven’t had a post recently. The other reason is that my husband, Mr. Himself, is in the Philippines doing missions work and I have total care of mother Ellen while he’s away (she lives with us). I spent most of the day yesterday in the ER with her. I also have total care of my twins with autism and another son with bipolar.

I live the life of a circus mom. Seriously. I also have four dogs and two cats. The fact that I’m still walking in an upright position without severe twitching is a miraculous thing.

Mother Ellen is home now, doing well, and Mr. Himself comes home in a few more days. But, of course, the interruptions won’t cease. Along comes the holidays. Not to mention I am doing 60 hours of observation at the local school for part of my degree requirements. (I’m getting a degree in Special Education.)

Does life ever slow down?

No. I don’t think it does.

Leave me a comment and let me know how chaotic your life is right now so I don’t feel alone!

And if you could click on the little twitter bird over at the left and help me spread the word, I’d be most appreciative.

Love,
Karla

How I Get It All Done (Sorta)

Waste your time--waste your life.Like you, I’m insanely busy. Sometimes I feel as if I don’t even have time to breathe. This can make writing hard. Not only for finding time to write, but having the mental clarity to write.

It doesn’t get easier as we get older. We need a lot more brain support in terms of exercise, nutrition and supplements. I was sharp as a tack until I turned 40 and then I realized how fallible and fragile this thing called life is. And I don’t know who told me parenting adult children was easy, but I have a hunch they didn’t have adult children.

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Most of you know that I’m a full-time pastor/pastor’s wife, full-time college student and “full-time” writer. That is, I spend at least four hours a day on my writing career. (Often, I spend much more than that.) As a pastor I spend at least 40 (ahem, to 60) hours and my college homework gets squeezed in there in between it all.

On top of that I’m a Mom, grandma, wife, daughter-in-law to my mother-in-law who lives with us and has Alzheimer’s. My candles are pretty much melted. If I don’t keep track of my tasks, they don’t get done.

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Here’s how I do it.

My first favorite item is my physical planner notebook, The Planner Pad. I love this planner because it not only gives me a full calendar view but also lets me plan by the week and day. Now, I also use a digital planning system as well, but it’s different than this planner, and I’ll get to it later. This physical planner helps me write out my week by hand in order to internalize it.

Here is a pic of my calendar page for the month of September 2015 (it’s not nearly as pretty as the video).

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And here’s the “funnel” pages I use each week to categorize and prioritize my activities. This is the one for this week. It will fill up more as the week goes along.

calendar

Now, if you watch the following video, you’ll see I don’t use the funnel pages correctly. For some reason I want to put my specific times on the middle part of my page instead of at the bottom. What you’re supposed to do is break down the tasks in the middle of the page and then schedule specific times for them at the bottom. I tend to just schedule appointments at specific times on the middle of the page.

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Our lives are so interrupted that I get discouraged if I write something like, “blog from 9 AM – 10 AM.” No sooner will I write that than someone in this house or at the church will have an urgent need. And then I feel even more frustrated. Since I’m a little too task-oriented in life as it is, the way I do it works for me so I don’t become resentful.

The Planner Pad does have a digital planner. But I don’t care for it because it’s not all on one page. That’s why I use KanbanFlow on my computer instead of planner pad.

I like this system because I can see every segment of my life in one glance. (The column on the far left, “Chris” is a part-time consulting job I do. Nothing going on this week. Yay!)

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An example of a week (incomplete)

I can also create a whole new board for a specific task.

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I can also break down the week and tasks into “Do Today” and  “Do This Week” and really, any type of column I want. And if you delegate a lot of things on your list (I don’t) then you can add a name and photo to the task. (I don’t usually bother with the photo thing but did it to show you here.)

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I’m a bit addicted to Zulily and tumblr…

The drawbacks of this system is that there isn’t an app for the iPhone. However, you can still access it via the web. Still, I’m not sure why they haven’t created an app. But for me, this works because I usually only use it when I have my computer on and open. (And that’s most of the day.)

It also has the promodoro timer!

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I can keep track of time spent on different tasks or make myself focus for different stretches of time with the timer. And it will also keep statistics for you. To learn more about the different details, watch the video below.

I’m still learning how to use different colors to code urgency or type of task. For me, just getting the tasks down (brain dumping) is a huge relief. And I like being able to drag the task tiles over into the “done” column. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that!

This system was actually developed for collaborators designing software. I absolutely love it for juggling the different roles I play in life.

What system do you use to stay on task?

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Would you be so kind as to share a tweet?

What do you use to stay on task?

In Which I Passed Through a Portal on the Day of the Blood Moon Whilst Buying Chicken

seriously

Yesterday was a troubling day.

Not only was it the day of the last of the blood moon tetrad, which was also supposed to usher in the end-of-the-world-financial-zombie-apocalypse (I’m not saying it still won’t), but I also passed through a portal that was most certainly at least ten more years away. I’m convinced this blood moon thing did something to speed up time. Read on to discover why.

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It all started so innocently, as I’m told such things do. I was in the drive-thru buying some lunch for Isaiah and myself following the morning church service. Our house was full of guests (the evangelist and his fiance and a dog named Stella and the rest of our brood).  Since Isaiah and I were feeling poorly, we were on our way to a friend’s very quiet house to rest in quiet tranquility.  (Thanks, Christopher!)

Thinking a bit of chicken would perk us up, we waited in the looooooong  line that is our local southern fried chicken establishment. (It’s not that the lines are long, it’s just that this particular eatery always has extremely slow service).

Finally, I pull my car up to the window to pay for our order.

http://www.shapingyouth.org/fast-food-chains-are-slowly-getting-healthier-yum/

Source: http://www.shapingyouth.org/fast-food-chains-are-slowly-getting-healthier-yum/

It looked innocent enough. Little did I know it was a portal to that dreadful place all women are convinced they will never pass through.

But I was wrong. It happened. Just like that. Right there in my car, wearing my Sunday best.  A handsome teenager sucked me into the vortex with seven devastating words:

  1. Would
  2. You
  3. Like
  4. The
  5. Senior
  6. Citizen
  7. Discount?
saywaht

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I took the selfie pic (below) of me this morning in my car, still perplexed that I had been so abruptly pulled into the whirlwind of senior citizenry. I’m still convinced it was a case of mistaken identity. (So, I may or may not have edited the photo to blur out a few wrinkles…there aren’t that many…,right? Right?)

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Shouldn’t there be  some sort of warning before this happens? A summons delivered to your door by the sheriff? A text that asks you to enter a code for an option to delay said crossing over? A simple phone call?

Instead I’m now suffering from post-traumatic-they-think-I’m-antiquated-disorder.

Ahem. Just for the record? This is old:

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Source: http://www.old-picture.com/american-legacy/005/Old-Car.htm

This is not.

KarlaAkinsPhoto

Thankyouverymuch.

Now, excuse me while I call a plastic surgeon. Aging gracefully isn’t in my DNA. This girl’s going into it kicking and screaming.

Would you be so kind as to tweet?

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Shouldn’t there be a warning before they suck you into the senior citizen vortex?

How KarlaAkins Passed Through a Portal on the Day of the Blood Moon Whilst Buying Chicken

 

Are you still here?

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Congratulations!

I think.

I mean, if you’re reading this right now, it means you’re still here and the world hasn’t come to an end. Or, if the rapture has occurred, and you’re still here, then it’s not congratulations that’s in order, but some advice on how to make it through tribulation.

The safest place

Today is the first day of autumn. It’s also a day that many have predicted will either usher in disastrous change for the world, the tribulation, or the rapture.

Many believe the return of Messiah is imminent, including a prominent Jewish Rabbi who is urging all Jews to come home to Israel. He believes that at the end of the sabbatical year the Messiah will return. The end of that year was September 12, 2015. So far, I haven’t seen Messiah, but expecting Him to come any second is how we’re supposed to live. I have eagerly awaited His return since I was a small child.

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Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky; Souce: beforeitsnews.com

Sept. 22-23 is Yom Kippur., or Day of Atonement. It is also the beginning of the Year of Jubilees. Some find it ironic that the Pope is coming on the holiest holiday of the Jewish people because they won’t be able to participate in the arrival. They also find it a tad coincidental.

Others believe that today marks the beginning of tribulation based upon calculations of Daniel’s 70th week. 

Countless books have been written about September 2015. 

Even Isaac Newton wrote about Messianic predictions surrounding September 23, 2015.

CERN was also supposed to have a major colliding event today, but all references to it have been removed from their website. Now they claim that the machine has been powering up since June 15 and nothing unusual is happening today. They’ve even removed the CERN calendar that used to be available. Coincidence? Is there something to hide? (If you don’t know about CERN, you can learn about it and science’s search for the God Particle here and here.) If you want to get even more freaked out, just type “CERN September 23, 2015” into the google search engine. Go on. I dare you. Just set aside about a year to read it all.

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Now, if that’s not enough to freak you out, check out the SESAME project. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

sesame (n.)Look up sesame at Dictionary.comearly 15c., probably from Middle French sisame and directly from Latin sesamum (nominative sesama), from Greek sesamon (Doric sasamon) “seed or fruit of the sesame plant,” a very early borrowing via Phoenician from Late Babylonian *shawash-shammu (compare Assyrian shamash-shammu “sesame,” literally “oil-seed”). First as a magic password in 1785 translation of Galland’s “Mille et une nuits,” where it opens the door of the thieves’ den in “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.” Phraseopen sesame current since about 1826. (Source: http://www.etymonline.com/).

Just asking here, but what portals, exactly, are they trying to open?

Pope Francis; public domain image

Pope Francis; public domain image

The Pope has a lot of engagements in the United States in the next few days including addressing the United States Congress. It is the first time in history that the Pope has ever done so. On Friday he’s addressing the United Nations. Interesting? I think so. There will also be an inter-faith service at the 9/11 museum on Friday. Hmm.

September 27 – October 5 is the Feast of Tabernacles. On the 28th is the 4th blood moon of the recent tetrad.  If you haven’t been studying the blood moons at all, this website will get you up to speed. I’m fascinated!

Some people have linked the budding of the fig tree to the birth of Israel. And 2015 marks 67 years since its birth. In Matthew 24:32, Jesus says this:

“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

A very ripe fig

A very ripe fig

Muslim clerics are predicting the return of their Mahdi in September 2015. An old prophecy written by the Islamic prophet Ali Bin Iben Abi Talib says that just before the coming of the Mahdi, a tall black man will rise up to take command of the West and he will command the most powerful army on earth. Let’s see…tall…black…West…Obama?

Barak Obama, President of the United States

Barak Obama, President of the United States

DiscoveringIslam.org:

“The Messenger of Allah [sallallahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam] informed the Companions of everything that would occur until the Day of Resurrection,” the website reports.

“Based on our numerical analysis of the Quran and Hadith, the official beginning of the End of Time and the coming of the Imam Mahdi will most likely be in 2015 (or 2016) and Jesus Christ (p) will come down from Heaven to Earth in 2022, in-sha Allah (if Allah is willing).”  (Read more.)

Whatever is going to happen, as I said before, the best place to be is in the center of God’s will. Could this be the beginning of earth pains? Will the dollar collapse? Will there be a global currency? I don’t know. I only know how to prepare spiritually. I have limited resources to prepare physically.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee- be not dismayed; for I am thy God- I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.Isaiah 41-10

One thing’s for sure, we need to be awake, watching and prayerful. We must know the heartbeat of God so that we won’t be tricked. False Messiah’s will come. And God has called His Children to know the difference and share the Truth with others.

 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”  Ephesians 6:12.

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Tweet this: Are you still here or did you get left behind?

Do I smell like old books and glue?

OldBooks

I have a new hobby. It’s YouTube. Not in the way you think. I listen to lectures on it while I work or as I fall asleep. Anyway, I stumbled onto a video the other day (while watching a commercial for handbags when I wasn’t listening to a lecture) of a young man in New York City who sells high end handbags. He was explaining what types of people carry which handbag.

He described someone who carries a Chanel handbag as being “an old lady who smells like old books and glue.”

According to a so-called expert, women who carry the iconic Chanel Handbag smell like old books and glue.

According to a so-called expert, women who carry the iconic Chanel Handbag smell like old books and glue.

And I had to wonder–do I?

I love old books! And I do have a lot of glue because I’m a homeschool Mom and now a grandma and there’s nothing I enjoy more than doing crafts with the girls.

EEEEEK!

Okay, let’s get one thing straight. I’ve never carried a handbag worth more than $100. I’m not sure I’ve ever carried one worth more than $50 (if I have, it was given to me). I do invest in a good business roller bag for my computer because I take my laptop/office with me everywhere I go. When I got my financial aid last spring I sprung for this one:

But handbags? I have never understood the need to carry one that cost more than my car.

Check this out.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, this handbag is the most expensive one on earth. It weighs in at $3.8 million dollars. Now, maybe I have a poverty mentality, but if I owned a handbag that expensive, I’d sell it immediately and buy a few schools in underprivileged areas or something. I can’t imagine carrying something so expensive, can you? Having said that, I imagine that anyone who actually owns something like this has fortunes in the billions of dollars, so maybe them carrying this purse on their budget is like me carrying one that’s a few hundred dollars. Maybe. I don’t know. Can’t wrap my mind around it.

But back to glue and old books. I know for a fact I don’t smell like that because a lady at church the other day told me I smelled like a “very distinguished woman wearing diamonds and pearls.” I’ll take that! (For the record, I’ve been wearing a very inexpensive body spray the past three or four years that people always compliment me on. If you want to know what it is, email me.)

What do you smell like? What handbag do you carry? (And yes, guys, this is relevant because the trend is for guys to carry them. Okay, maybe only in New York City or Paris. Not so sure you gun-toting, red-blooded, Mid-American types are into that. Yet. Wait a generation.)

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Tweet this: Would you pay $3.8 M for a handbag?

My nostrils don’t match

seriously

You think you know yourself, and then one day, you record yourself singing at the piano and you’re like, WHAT? ONE OF MY NOSTRILS IS SMALLER THAN THE OTHER!

How does that happen?

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You know how they say that the most beautiful people are symmetrical? Obviously I’m not one of those.

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Source: Wikipedia

Actually, people with perfectly symmetrical faces aren’t the beautiful ones. Nowadays you have to have the golden ratio of phi to be beautiful. Someone’s even patented a mask based on that. I think they’re going to try to sell it to plastic surgeons and cosmetic companies, but I’m not sure.

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Source: goldenratio.net

Okay, so I may not have a perfectly-proportioned face. I know I’m not a classic beauty. Never claimed to be. It’s hard living with average looks in a world of golden ratios.

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Source: goldenratio.net

I guess that’s just another reason why I’m excited about Jesus coming to get us! We get glorified bodies!

“He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control” Philippians 3:21.

But the thing is, even if we are trapped in imperfect bodies, they are temples of God. And that makes them priceless.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” 1 Corinthians 6:19.

God indwells this nostrils-don’t-match old lady. It’s good enough for Him. It should be good enough for me, and irrelevant. Sometimes, we are just too shallow and it makes me sad. I’m so glad He is faithful to love us no matter what!

His graciousness is just one more reason I sing.

Hopefully you can look past my non-matching nostrils and enjoy this song my husband wrote. It’s recorded during a live church service. To God be the glory forever and ever amen!

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Tweet this: EEK! Did you know, @KarlaAkins, that your nostrils don’t match?

Do your nostrils match? Leave me a comment and let me know!

The Many Adventures of Mr. Himself: In Which He Gets Ready to Travel Overseas to the Philippines

Yesterday I introduced you to my husband, whom I lovingly refer to as Mr. Himself and explained that I’m dedicating a blog post category to him. After I wrote the post yesterday, I realized I failed to let you know the important work he’s up to besides hoarding toilet paper. 

My husband is a gifted guitarist, song writer and worship leader besides an extremely knowledgeable theologian. He is going to the Philippines in October to minister to some churches there and to teach and minister at a pastor’s leadership conference.

philip

 

If you’d like to contribute to his missions fund, feel free to visit his website. You will be blessed!twitter34

Tweet This: Besides hoarding toilet paper, he’s actually a gifted musician and preacher, too!

The Many Adventures of Mr. Himself: In Which This One Involves Toilet Paper

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Mr. Himself (as an avatar)

With his permission, I’ve decided to dedicate a portion of my blog to Mr. Himself. He is such a funny person to live with that I can’t help writing about him. And since he doesn’t take himself seriously, he’s okay with being exposed in this way.

Mr. Himself lives at the mercy and whims of many others for various reasons. One of them is that he’s married to me. Being married to an author and scholar isn’t easy (I’m also a full-time college student at the moment). He has to do his own laundry these days, and has for a long time. I think he’s a tad bitter about that, but that’s another blog post.

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He takes care of his mother who has Alzheimer’s and lives with us, and helps me with the twins (age 20) with autism in addition to being a full-time pastor. So, as you can imagine, there are very few things he has control over.

And that’s why, I believe, he tries to control weird things.

Like toilet paper.

Bing Free Use Image

Bing Free Use Image

Currently, there are six adults living in this house. The twins have a caregiver who comes for a portion of the day, so technically we have 6.5 people in this house using toilet paper. We go through a lot of it. Like maybe a roll or two a day. I don’t know because I’m too busy to keep track. Apparently he has time to because it’s driving him bonkers.

So, a few days ago, he decided toilet paper was something he would control.

We were each assigned our own roll of toilet paper with our names on it.

And we were not to use any else’s roll.

He was going to find out who ran out first. And he was rationing it. It had to last us at least a week, or ideally, two weeks.

Right. Like that’s going to happen.

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Bing Free Use Image

There’s this funny thing about humans. We don’t like to be dominated. We don’t like to be told what to do. And we are competitive.

So instead of using my own precious roll of toilet paper, I sneak a few Kleenex in with me, or I swipe some off one of the boys’s rolls. Bad. I know. I’ve sinned over toilet paper. TOILET. PAPER.

Bing Free Use Image

Bing Free Use Image

Me: Honey, I’ve decided to feature you now and then on my blog. I’m giving you your own category. And I’m going to write about this toilet paper experiment of yours.

Mr. Himself: Why?

Me: Because you’re hilarious. I mean, you wrote our names on toilet paper. Think about it. WHO DOES THAT?

Mr. Himself (laughs with great satisfaction): It is pretty funny, isn’t it?

The experiment is failing. No one is using their own roll of toilet paper anymore. And besides, he’s gone to Michigan for a week to play his guitar and sing for a revival. There’s no way anyone is going to use their own roll with him gone.

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Bing Free Use Image

Poor Mr. Himself. Once again, there’s something in his life he can’t control.

eddie

My very own man in black: Rev. Eddie Akins

What do you think? Is Mr. Himself normal or weird? Leave me a comment!

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Tweet this: Did you know that Karla Akins is sneaky about toilet paper?

Autism grows up: Their first jobs!

God will make a way!

It’s been an exciting school year so far at the Akins ranch.

The twins are in their senior year. They are 20 years old and will be 21 in February. They’ve waited quite anxiously for several years for this to happen and now it has.

They have jobs!

Their vocational school, Heartland Career Center, has a program that helps high school students with special needs gain job experience. The twins get school credit for working at their assigned jobs several afternoons a week.

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Isaac’s first day on the job!

Isaac got a job at Pizza Hut. He had to go through the interview process and he was amazing. We’re so proud of him!

Isaiah got a job at a local bakery boutique. He was so excited on Friday because he got promoted from making pie boxes to doing dishes. I got a text from him: “My boss let me do dishes!”

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Isaiah and his tower of boxes!

When the boys were four years old, one of their psychologists asked me what my aspirations were for them. I told her that I hoped they’d learn to read and be independent someday. She leaned forward in her seat and said to me, “That’s just pie in the sky thinking and you might as well get that out of your head right now.”

Really?

Pie in the sky is pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

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Here. Share a slice with me!

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Tweet this: Autism grows up and gets jobs!

 

Acknowledging the supernatural

And lest I should be exalted above

The devil buffets me.

If you saw my personal life right now, you’d know it to be true. I’ve had a fairly challenging life, but the last six years have been absolutely awful in terms of hardships.

Now don’t get me wrong. In the midst of my troubles, God has provided for me, kept me safe, and comforted me. For these things I’m grateful. But in the process of the last six years, I’ve definitely been on the anvil and the potter’s wheel. I’m being refined and made stronger. I’m almost afraid to see how strong I am on the other side of all these things. Why is He toughening me up?  Or am I only being refined? Am I proud and He needs to take me down a peg or two? Time will tell and it’s not for me to know.

It’s for me to trust. So I am.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;

Recently, the night before Mother’s Day, my life had actually been going quite well, and I had even praised God for the restoration of some things in my family.

BOOM, on Mother’s Day, life kicked me in the gut again and knocked me down so hard I literally could not breathe.

Therefore, I’ve decided, if the devil is going to fight that hard to stop me from speaking out, I’m not going to let him win. If I’m going to be buffeted, then he’s getting some pay back.

For we wrestle not against flesh and

What’s all this devil talk, you ask?

I believe there’s a devil and I also believe there’s a God. I believe like a child, just as Jesus told me to. You might call me nuts, but that’s okay. I know with every fiber of my being that God created me and is up to something good on my behalf.

But as much as I know that God loves me, I know that the devil hates me.

Make no mistake. There’s no way the devil is nearly as powerful as God. Lucifer wants us to think so, but he’s not. In fact, the Bible (which is my authority on all matters) tells us that when we see him, we’ll not be too impressed:

12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground—mighty though you were against the nations of the world. 13 For you said to yourself, “I will ascend to heaven and rule the angels. I will take the highest throne. I will preside on the Mount of Assembly far away in the north. 14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.” 15 But instead, you will be brought down to the pit of hell, down to its lowest depths. 16 Everyone there will stare at you and ask, “Can this be the one who shook the earth and the kingdoms of the world? 17 Can this be the one who destroyed the world and made it into a shambles, who demolished its greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?” Isaiah 14:12-17, TLB

The thing that gets me through this life, and frankly, always has, is the knowledge that this isn’t all there is.

All the things around me, all the events, all the troubles, the stuff–it’s all temporary. I don’t think of life on earth as the end all and be all of my existence because that’s not how the Bible has taught me to think. The only thing that last forever, when it comes to this world, are souls. People. People last forever.

Peter

People are the most precious of all creation to God. And it’s because of this that the devil fights us so hard. He is insanely jealous of us. From the beginning of time he’s done everything he can to mess things up when it comes to how we think and believe. Because we are precious to God, the evil one fights in arenas of sickness, mental illness, abortion, sexual perversion, broken homes, false doctrines (beliefs) and more.

His first goal regarding his hatred of humans was to stop the lineage of Jesus Christ because he knew that Jesus would die for us and redeem us. Satan can’t be redeemed. So he wants to drag us all to hell with him.

He rescued us from the control of

Now that Jesus has come and paid the price for us, the devil does all he can to make sure that humans do not reign with Christ forever. Because of this, the gates of hell are opening as never before and evil fury is unleashed upon the world. But we aren’t without hope. Because God’s Word tells us that the “gates of hell will not prevail” against us (Matthew 16).

In future posts, I’m going to be writing more about supernatural answers to earthly questions. I’m not going to let the enemy stop what God has called me to do.

Don’t you let him, either.

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Tweet this: Satan can’t be redeemed. So he wants to drag us all to hell with him. #bible