News

News: Well folks, as of March 27th, I am now Dr. Squeaks. That's the latest news :P

--5 April 2020--

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

June 15, 2020

Right-Wing Pity Party - Christians Be Courageous

[[if you aren't a Christian you should probably skip this one]]

First, check this video from Charlie Kirk (I promise, it's worth watching before you keep reading).


Unfortunately, too many Christians and right-wing leaning people are sitting in a puddle while the far left pours more rancid water on them. "Woe is me," they think, "I will keep my mouth shut or I'll lose my friends and people might hate me." They do nothing aside from following whatever social movement is trendy - does anyone bother to search for facts anymore?

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children." Hosea 4:6

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7

We are quite literally seeing a society of fools rise up and demand to run nations. These individuals have no fear of God, therefore they lack knowledge. It is because of their lack of knowledge that they are destroyed - this results in an environment of chaos. I am very displeased with how I have seen things on the global scale progress over the last few months. I am even more displeased with the general response of the Church. Only a minority are standing up for what is good, honourable, and just. The rest appear to be too concerned with being labeled as bigoted/racist/homophobic/uptight/prude/etc (whatever label bothers you most) by people who: a) don't even know you or b) don't honour God.

Let me ask this then - why are those opinions (of people who don't follow God) so important to your character and so disturbing to your morale that you stand down and allow them to walk all over what you believe and what Scripture teaches? My conclusion must be this; either: a) you think more of their opinions than of what God thinks about you; b) you don't actually believe what the Bible says (either because you don't read Scripture or you don't agree with Scripture); or c) your faith is lip-service and your heart is not in it.

I would really check yourself if any of those conclusions marked home. If we don't stand up for what we believe, who's going to do it? The answer is no one - you need to stand up and stop shaking in your boots about who will try to shout you down for doing so. Just because they're offended does not mean they're right. The left doesn't care that they step on toes to get their way, so why do we fear their wrath? Where are all the godly men and women who are passionate about Jesus and passionate about the Bible? I see so many weak, passive followers and not enough bold leaders and warriors.

Finally, I am thoroughly disappointed by the response of people my own age towards the current events. I am 27 and have been following Jesus for over 20 years now - yet so many people in this career category are more concerned with what video games they should play, who they might meet for coffee, what's the latest gossip (who's with who? she did what? they went where? Oh my!), and what cute trendy outfit is on fleek. I call it shallow. I call it superficial. I call it cowardice. What did God say to Joshua and the people of Israel when they went to enter the Promised Land?

"Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

We are called to obey God and go forward with courage. Jesus said:

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

He said go. He said to make disciples, baptize, and teach. He did not say sit around and wait till you die or till you feel better about it. Jesus is not a passive teacher who let sinful men walk all over Him - He did not allow people to take the Word of God and misquote it. He did not allow injustice to go unaddressed. He did not passively say to love - he actively said to love. Too many people do not understand what agape love is. It is sacrificial love - it means giving up yourself and your will to bring even the most lost and tormented person to the foot of the cross so that they might have a chance to make a decision for Christ. It means hard love that has boundaries.

I am tired of seeing people walk all over Jesus and walk all over the principles that the Bible teaches. Culture today is very anti-Christ and anti-Scripture. It isn't "cool" to follow Jesus - people literally hate you for it, because the Biblical principles that Jesus stands for are very against current culture right now. So Christians - start standing up for what the Word of God says. Start being bold in your faith. This is not a time to be cowardly - this is a time to be strong. Do you want to be like the children of Israel who sat around and begged for a king to lead them when the God of the universe was literally guiding them and helping their every need? They wanted to be like the people around them. They felt insecure because their Leader was very different from what the world had. They wanted to blend and fit in. And what did they get? God warned them and then acquiesced, and they received a line of broken kings who sinned and made their lives miserable.

Why do you want to be like the world? The world is broken and full of sin. It isn't my home - I might have a Canadian citizenship, but I am first and foremost a citizen of Heaven. I belong with Jesus. I will fight for what Jesus stands for - which means I will be bold about what I believe. Stop with the pity parties; bring out the war drums. Culture today has declared war against Jesus and everything He teaches. Fight back.

I see children out there who are stronger in their faith than adults my age or even "mature" believers who have followed Jesus for decades. Just because you feel unqualified does not mean that you are! God often used the weakest most unlikely individuals for what He had to do - Gideon's story should be enough evidence to that. The more unqualified you feel, the more God can do because you're less likely to take His glory and call it your own. He literally sealed you with His Spirit and promised to lead you. What more do you need to start standing up for the Kingdom of God?

Signed with peace,
Squeaks.

June 4, 2020

The Rapture of the Church - Jesus is Coming Quickly!

I have felt led to write about the rapture of the Christian Church these last few months. The urge to write has finally gotten to the point where I'm like...ok ok, I'll tackle this massive topic that the Church says is so controversial. I must - the Spirit of the Lord is asking for me to do so. The rapture itself is recognized as being a concrete event by the majority of Christians, although the timing has been debated. So, I shall give my best shot at explaining it to you and warning you, my Christian friends, to get your heart ready because Jesus is coming. Do not put this off. 

kokecit on DeviantArt


This is not going to be an exhaustive overview, just a brief one, so I encourage you to dig in and research on your own if you want to know more (I have provided a bunch of links at the bottom to start you off). The view I am going to be discussing today is pre-tribulation premillennialism; although (see image below) there are other views as well. I believe that Scripture provides more substantial support for the pre-tribulation view than any of the others, and I will explain why in a moment.




First, what is the rapture of the Church and where does the word come from if it isn’t in the original text? The word rapture comes from the Latin term raptura/rapio, which was the translation from the Greek word harpazō. The word harpazō appears 14 times in the new testament (NT) and translates as “to remove suddenly/snatch away”. The argument that the rapture does not exist because the word rapture is not in the original text is a poor one. Why? The words Trinity, Sunday, and the Lord’s Prayer also do not appear in the original text, yet are commonly employed among Christians today. It’s about the preferred term of translation in this case.

Ok, so now that we have the translation of the term down, where does it appear in the NT? 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, which says:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

There is additional text on this matter in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, which states:
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

The eschatology behind the rapture-disappearances that so popularly came to the forefront due to Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’ Left Behind series is taken from the resurrection of Jesus. We read in Luke 24 and John 20 how Peter ran into the tomb to see for himself that Jesus’ body was not present, according to the testimony of the women. He noted that only the linen wrappings used in the burial process were present in the tomb – the body indeed had disappeared. We know that Jesus had received a resurrected body (very different from being brought back to life as has occurred with the dead, such as Lazarus). This body is eternal in nature, without the presence of original sin from Adam. Jesus still had his wounds from His crucifixion (although note that the marring from the beatings was no longer present). He was able to eat and drink with His disciples and had a physical form that could be touched.

So the concept behind believers in Christ disappearing and leaving behind their clothes during the rapture of the Church is Biblically sound. As stated above in 1 Cor 15, when the trumpet sounds, the body of the believer will be transformed (without the process of death being necessary) into the resurrected body. The process will be the same as what occurred to Jesus.

Now before we go into a discussion on the timing of the rapture and so forth, we need to talk about why it even happens in the first place. It is a key element in the new covenant, which is initiated by the giving of a ketubah, or a marriage contract. God entered into a covenant with Israel after they crossed the Red Sea to escape the slavery of the Egyptians (read about it in Exodus). This was the first marriage contract given to Israel and it follows the traditions of an Israeli wedding. However, because of Israel’s faithlessness to God and her idolatry with other gods and intermingling with heathen nations that practiced all sorts of lawlessness (i.e., child sacrifice, oppression of poor and minority groups, slavery, etc) God eventually said enough was enough. Israel had violated the contract one time too many and so God gave notice of divorce (Jeremiah 3).

According to the laws of a marriage contract, once divorce has occurred, the wife cannot remarry her first husband or she defiles him (Deuteronomy 24). The only way around this is the death of the husband - physiologically speaking, this means it is impossible for the wife to return to her husband in the flesh... but God is God, is He not? Therefore, God sent His only Son, Jesus, and Jesus died; however, because He is sinless, He did not stay dead but was resurrected. He is therefore qualified to renew the marriage covenant with Israel. He also fulfilled the requirements for the sacrificial system in the old testament, wherein a pure, unblemished lamb was required to be sacrificed to take upon the sins of the people and cleanse them before their holy God. In the context of the old covenant, this is why Jesus speaks of how He came for the lost sheep only (to be able to provide a new contract to Israel). This also means that if Jesus took the cross upon Him and died for humanity, then He is the same God that made the covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai, as written of in Exodus. Furthermore, just like with the old covenant, gentiles are also welcome to accept the terms and conditions of the ketubah.

According to traditional Jewish weddings, a betrothal period must take place before the wedding. This is initiated by the negotiation of the ketubah and the sharing of the fruit of the vine (wine or grape juice) and bread by the bride-to-be and the bridegroom. If the bride takes the cup and drinks, she is declaring that she will wait for the bridegroom until he comes to bring her to his place. She is also declaring that she accepts the terms of the covenant. Once the bride accepts the contract, then the groom leaves to go back to his father’s house to prepare a place for his bride. In a traditional Galilean wedding at the time of Jesus, this meant building on additional rooms to the father’s house for the bridegroom and bride, as well as the preparation of the feast.

In the mean-time, the bride was to prepare for the wedding. This included a ceremonial washing (the mikveh; a purification ritual). She was also to prepare her wedding dress and stay watchful for when the bridegroom returned to bring her to the wedding feast. It was a complete mystery to her as to when the bridegroom would come to bring her to his home, so she had to be ready at a moment’s notice to get up and go with him.

Pinterest


One unique aspect of a traditional Galilean wedding during Jesus’ time was the surprise of the ceremony itself. Not even the bridegroom knew when the wedding ceremony would be initiated. Only the bridegroom’s father knew – no one else. The bridegroom would prepare the house and the feast, and then he would wait for his father to tell him when it was time. Once his father announced he could retrieve his bride, he would go with his groomsmen to the bride’s house; typically this event occurred in the middle of night, so only those who were awake or ready for the wedding would be able to join the procession. During this procession, the Shofar was blown. The bride then came out of her house and a chair was brought forward for her to sit in – she was then lifted by the groomsmen and carried away back to the bridegroom’s house. Once the guests had all entered, the door was closed and no one else was allowed inside.

The bride, bridegroom, and wedding guests would hear the ketubah read aloud – they would reaffirm their vows under the chuppah (a canopy, symbolising their house) and receive blessings. Then, the feast would begin; this typically lasted for 7 days and was a time of great joy and celebration.



So how does all of this tie in with what I have said about the rapture? Let me break it down. As Christians, this is where we stand currently:
·      We have accepted the ketubah given by Jesus – classically referred to as His gift of salvation. We recognize His lordship in our life and commit ourselves to Him.
·      We have taken the cup and the bread ceremonially to declare we wait for Jesus’ return (this is referred to as communion in the Church).
·      Jesus ascending to heaven, as recorded by His disciples – He promised that He would return after He had gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:2) – but the hour of His return is known to no one except His Father (Mat 24:36; Mark 13:32).
·      We make a declaration of our faith in Jesus by water baptism (i.e., the mikveh), which symbolizes our death to our sins and our new life in Jesus – aka, purification.
·      We receive the seal of His Holy Spirit, which proves we have entered into this covenant with God.  
·      We are told to remain ready and waiting for Jesus’ return – always watchful of the times and seasons we are in to know when the hour of His coming may occur. This is signified by the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the increase in lawlessness, paving the way for the son of lawlessness, who is the final Antichrist.
·      Finally, we will hear the Shofar sound that the bridegroom approaches and in the twinkling of an eye, we will be carried away to meet Jesus, who will take us to heaven for the wedding feast.
·      A traditional wedding feast lasts 7 days – we known that the Church will not be present for the outpouring of the wrath of God on the earth. We are told that the Great Tribulation is initiated by the signing of a 7 year peace treaty with Israel. Therefore, it is clear the Church will be celebrating the wedding with Jesus during this time – not present for the suffering to be poured out for the lawlessness and injustice committed by sinful people who have not accepted the protective ketubah covenant offered by Christ.

When exactly, then, does the rapture occur? My studies have led me to believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church, which I will explain here. First, the Church is not mentioned at all in Revelation 6-18, which outlines the judgements making up the outpouring of the wrath of God on the earth. John, the writer of Revelation, uses the term Church (or ekklesia) in chapters 1-3 of Revelation, but the term does not again appear until Revelation 22:16. Furthermore, nowhere in Daniel’s end-time prophecy is there any mention of the Church. It is certainly something important to note if John shifts from speaking strictly to believers in Jesus to suddenly not mentioning whatsoever while outlining God’s judgement.

Additionally, there are no warnings given for Christians in the epistles concerning a future tribulation. Certainly Paul, Peter, and the rest would have thought it necessary to provide instruction and warning for Christians if they were to expect to live through the horrors outlined in Revelation. Yet this isn’t the case. We are warned of persecution, trial, false teachers, and the increasingly serious birth pangs of the earth that occur before the revelation of the Antichrist, yet nowhere are we told how to prepare ourselves for the tribulation itself. This is indirect support for a pre-tribulation rapture. Finally, both Matthew 24 and Revelation 19, which clearly detail the second coming of Christ, have no mention whatsoever of the rapture of the Church (as depicted in 1 Thessalonians 4).  

So where does that put us on the timeline right now, in June 2020? We need to look at Biblical prophecy to see what has been fulfilled and what has yet to be fulfilled. I plan to go into this in more detail in a later post. For now, I will attempt to summarize some of the key points. However, note that none of these prophecies need to take place before the rapture of the Church can occur. The rapture can occur at any point in time; the only prophecy that must occur before the tribulation begins is the restoration of Israel as a nation (which we see has already happened).  

First, Israel is a nation again, after being scattered abroad twice and carried off as slaves each time. Additionally, we have just seen Jerusalem recognized as the capital of Israel by President Donald Trump, further solidified by his decision to move the American embassy to the city. This prophecy was initially given by Moses with additions by Jeremiah and Jesus: Deuteronomy 29; Isaiah 11:11-13; Jeremiah 25:11; Hosea 3:4-5 and Luke 21:23-24

We have yet to see the battle between Gog and Magog, highlighted in Ezekiel 38. Many believe Russia will have some role to play in this, alongside modern day Turkey and/or Iran. The key point here is that Ezekiel speaks of weapons of mass destruction and technology that certainly did not exist in his day. Those killed during this battle must be removed by professionals and clear instructions are given not to touch the bodies and that they must be buried away from the city, downwind. The language clearly indicates this battle is likely nuclear in nature and leads to contamination of those killed as well as the area they are found in.

We also have yet to see the complete destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17). This is an event that could happen any day. Damascus is the capital of Syria and has already undergone substantial destruction due to war over the last decade. I’ve been keeping my eye on the Middle East situation since 2013-ish when things really began to heat up.

There has been an increase in lawlessness over the last century; Timothy warns us of this in 2 Tim 3:1-5.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 

This isn’t to say that humanity has not been prone to behaviour of this sort even in Jesus’ time – certainly they have. Yet it is even more prominent in this last generation. The amount of disrespect for the family unit, self-centered actions, and openly blatant disregard for what has been taught in Scripture is unreal.

Jesus spoke of the birth pangs that would lead up to the tribulation (Matthew 24:3-8):
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

These events occurred in Jesus’ days – but the frequency at which they occur is becoming closer and closer together with greater intensity and destruction. This year itself we have seen multiple horrifying events including:
·      Australian bushfires
·      Coronavirus pandemic
·      Ukrainian Boeing 737 plane crash in Iran
·      Death of Kobe Bryant
·      Thailand mall shooting
·      Nova Scotia shooting
·      Death of George Floyd and subsequent riots across the USA and Canada
·      Puerto Rico earthquake
·      Jakarta flooding

This is not to also mention that every single month Israel has been bombarded by rocket attacks from Hammas and other terror groups. In addition to tense relationships in the Middle East, China’s relationship with North America also is borderline hostile.

In other words, there is a lot going on – things do not appear to be improving, but rather are deteriorating, as to be expected.

I have felt an increased sense of seriousness towards sharing the Gospel over the last 4 months. I have also been feeling a sense of urgency to prepare for the rapture of the Church. Jesus could come at any moment – we don’t know when, but the signs of the times indicated by the fulfillment of prophecy and increase in trials around us suggest that it could occur very soon. It is important to be prepared. Christians need to wake up and start taking their faith seriously. They need to clean up their lives and start living as though they have made a holy covenant with God Himself (because if you profess faith in Jesus, then you have made that covenant by accepting His gift of salvation).




Turn away from the things of the world – the sin that binds you to your flesh. Take your eyes off demonic pleasures that gratify yourself now and start acting like the Bride of Christ! You have made a commitment to Jesus – stop lounging around and start preparing yourself for what is to come. Get up, raise your voice, and arouse the sleeping Christians around you. Tell them to open their eyes and recognize that the time is now. They must draw near to Jesus – get into the Word of God, share the Gospel of Christ with fervour and passion.

I don’t know about you, but I am determined to be ready to head out when the Shofar sounds the beginning of the wedding ceremony. I have all my intentions set on being at that wedding feast to celebrate my covenant with Jesus that I made years ago. I will not be lazy – I want to take as many with me to this celebration as I possibly can. Perhaps I look foolish now for speaking out, but I am excited and I am passionate. Have you not been to a wedding before? Do you not realize that the hosts of heaven will do it a thousand times better than any wedding celebration you have ever been to on earth?! I cannot wait. And so in my excitement, I share this glorious hope that we have, because you – fellow Christians – you need to ready yourself and wake up.

Jesus is coming soon. Do not delay in preparing yourself for His return.




May 25, 2020

20.05.25 - They Sent Me A Casket {a poem}

I love writing poetry (as I'm sure you can tell if you've followed my blog for some time now). Today was a rainy, foggy day - therefore, it was the perfect sort of day to write something :) 

Also, a side note, but this little blog was featured on Feedspot's Top 25 Christian Poetry Blogs list! So if you're into this kind of stuff, you can check out that link to see similar content.

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20.05.25 - They Sent Me A Casket
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I am here amongst the creature comforts of a silent world. 
Everything is hushed between the falling raindrops,
Everything holds breath, waiting for the ready - set - … 
I am poised with pen in hand, hoping for a whistling muse,
But all I hear is echoing stillness in my mind. 
Life blooms - green bursts forth from hard-hewn trees,
Bending with flowers and leaves, bending with dew,
But somehow, someone planted a casket in my heart
And I am wondering where to bury the dead thing.
Rich soil makes for beautiful growth, like flowers and fruits,
But in my gazing on this unwanted gift, I can’t see how it would bring life.

I’d give it back - I’d return to sender, but they haven’t left an address. 
It belongs to the people: to many untilled hearts of dross with silver. 
I am filled with a queasy sense of unease - I think that’s what they wanted. 
I mourn, not for death, but for lost life. For the moments passing by
Where we could have walked between the trees, fresh dirt, and filtered sun,
Laughter lilting pleasant-like through the boughs, drifting west to the setting place
When the fog rolls in, we’d grab sticks and stones and chuck merry at the roots
And my home would fill with the fullness of a hearty meal and hot tea
We’d recline on the chairs, curled like cats, content and peaceful;
And between your furrowed brows I’d find recognition and knowledge
And all my toiling to bring the harvest would be fruitful. 

The glow of the flame on the map of your face is soft and solemn
But not the kind of solemn in a cathedral, hushed and marbled in tartness - 
Rather, the solemn of awe-inspired nature at its prime -
Faithful to wither under sun and bloom against all odds from beneath heavy snow. 
This is what I mourn. 

You’ve judged unjustly, my still frame and burdened mind. 
You’ve handled me unrighteously from a throne of iron 
And on the edge of the sword my words run like blood to unmerciful ears. 
Thank God Almighty you are not my final judge. 

Now I am here, casket before me, garden behind me - 
I won’t stain its soil with this disgraceful detritus. 
So. Like any good soul, I take it, drag it, heft it to the edge of my little property line
And shove it down the hill. 
It disappears, tumbling through old grass, gaining momentum, until at last
It slips with a final chorus of noise, into the rushing river below. 
Good riddance. I wipe my hands on old worn jeans, 
And turning, with not one return glance, I pad my way back to the garden gate
Barefoot and smudged with loam, I open - enter - shut, 
And again I am surrounded with solace 
Into the beauty grown from the labour of my own two hands. 

I’m not in the business of accepting dead things from other people.
I hope you feel the same. 
Let us plant gardens of life for the rest of our humble, lonely journey 
On the face of an embracing, tempestuous planet.  

-------
Signed with leaves, 
Squeaks.

April 21, 2020

Galaxy Soul: The Dreamer and the Seeker - Book Launch!

AH! I wrote a book! Finally! After +10 years of telling myself I wanted to publish something as a Canadian writer, I have done it (excluding my academic papers - that's a different conversation for a different time). 



GALAXY SOUL

THE DREAMER AND THE SEEKER



Available on: Kindle || Amazon Paperback

Galaxy Soul is a poetry collection that dives deep into the mystery of human consciousness. Mental health topics on depression and anxiety are elegantly spoken on from the perspective of someone who has lived through the darkness and now shines brightly on the other side of recovery. Galaxy Soul is infused with tones of hope, forgiveness, and compassion that arise from the author's Christian faith. 

If you are a wanderer searching for a little rest, constantly prone to feeling misunderstood or alone in the world - this might just be the book for you!

This collection has a very special place in my heart - it covers complex topics like mental health, grief, and loneliness yet manages to do so with notes of hope and tenderness. As a Christian, I write from a place of deep faith; perhaps it may be of encouragement to someone somewhere.

There are 4 parts: Part 1 (Galaxy Soul) celebrates the strength of character that grows within people battling depression and anxiety. Part 2 (The Universal Puzzle of the Human Soul) is an attempt to understand the 'why' of our confusing human existence. Part 3 (Lost in Thought) threads into the complexities of the human mind and the process of deep thought and overthinking. Part 4 (The Little Things in Life) gently touches on the process of dealing with grief and loss, while also exploring how we can find beauty in simplicity.

The majority of these poems were written from the depths of my heart - so as you might imagine, it's a little scary setting that free for people to read and critique and dissect. My search for hope in the midst of loss, grief, and darkness always brings me back around to Jesus. You'll find that all of the heavier poems in this collection resolve themselves with hope because of the peace I have found in Jesus. He truly is my saving grace and I really want the world to know that!

In all honesty, a large portion of this compilation sat on the shelf for 2 years, since I completed the first copy in 2018. I just hadn't the heart to publish it at the time – and I’m glad I waited, because several critical poems on grief were written after the fact. That being said, I think now is the right moment for Galaxy Soul to benefit the broader community of readers. So here she is!

Paperback copies will be coming very soon (my Facebook author page, Mackenzie A. Lockhart, will have updates on that) - I'm just waiting for Amazon to approve the final manuscript arrangement. In the meantime, if this sounds like something you'd read, then Kindle e-copies are available in most countries!

If you do purchase a copy, I would absolutely LOVE it if you rated my book and wrote a brief review on Amazon/Goodreads to let me and future readers know what you think! Or, if you run a blog or have a wide-reaching audience on social media, just shoot me an email at hiddendoorways[at]gmail[dot]com or message me on Facebook/Instagram and I'll see what I can do about getting you a pdf ecopy in exchange for a review :)

Much love & appreciation,
Mackenzie A. Lockhart

April 20, 2020

Hidden Doorways Makeover



Hi all!

As you can tell, if you've recently visited this page, I have given Hidden Doorways a very unexpected makeover. It's a new season and time to turn over a fresh page (let's be real though - it took me 10 years to revamp my blog... things were getting stagnant and needed change).

I have some really exciting changes coming soon, so keep your eye out for an update in the future!

In the mean time, what has everyone been up to? I'm assuming my readership consists mostly of dusty skeletons - your dry bones may take a bit to revive ... and I certainly cannot count on my own consistency as a blogger to do that reviving for you :/ sorry!

If you want to connect, you can now visit the following social media platforms to follow my progress as a poet/author:

I plan to fix up my other social media over the next month, so bear with me. Things will be changing around here shortly! I hope you'll stick around to find out exactly what that means :) 

Signed with sunflowers,
Squeaks.

April 5, 2020

{A Review} - Let the Ghosts Speak by Bryan Davis



I received an email from Bryan Davis' publicity manager quite a while back, with an inquiry as to whether I would be interested in reviewing his latest book, Let the Ghosts Speak. In all honesty, I saw it several weeks after it was sent and then promptly forget about it in the midst of the coronavirus news and finishing my PhD thesis (yes, folks - and if you're a long time reader of my blog... yes... anyway *ahem*). It is quite VERY unlike me to not jump instantly on a chance to review one of Bryan's books. He is, after all, a very dear and favourite author of mine that I've grown up with.

That being said, I reached out just before I defended my thesis and asked if copies were still available for an honest review, and received the happy reply that indeed they were! So here we are, me in my arm chair with my luke-warm coffee (yuck) and you perched wherever you might be scrolling through these words. Let's take the plunge, shall we?

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Let the ghosts speak - but will the sane heed their counsel?
In 19th century Paris, Justin Trotter, an immigrant from England, is making his way as a book translator while paying his blind twin sister's care. One evening, Marc Noel, Justin's well-to-do friend and fellow thespian, invites him to a masquerade party at an abandoned schoolhouse. Justine hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know Marc's lovely though sharp-tongued sister, Francine. 
At the event, Justin meets four ghostly strangers - two adults and two children - who warn him that the party guests are in danger, and they must leave at once. True to their prediction, a murder takes place, and Justin is the prime suspect. He escapes and becomes a fugitive, hiding in the Paris catacombs. 
Mystery and intrigue swirl as the ghost of Joan of Arc and other martyrs guide Justin on a lonely journey to prove his innocence and protect his sister from an abusive caretaker. Who really committed the crime? Marc? Francine? A ghost? And does seeing these ghosts mean he is going insane? Maybe he really is the murderer after all. 
There is only one way to find out, to let the ghosts speak as they reveal the mysteries within Justin's mind. {excerpt from Goodreads}
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Let the Ghosts Speak is very different than anything else Bryan Davis has written. However, if I had to compare it to something, it would probably fall somewhere between the serious voice of the truths covered about life and death in I Know Why the Angels Dance and the pure heart of Sapphira Adi that is slowly revealed in Eye of the Oracle. In Let the Ghosts Speak, we are plunged into the storyline of Justin Trotter who finds himself wrapped up in the middle of a murder while also somehow managing to be privy to observing the tutelage of Joan of Arc as she seeks to teach the ghost of her killer the true love of God. The setting is 19th century Paris and with it comes a relatively well written Victorian-esque theme (although, being a bit of a nerd for all things Victorian, the writing style is certainly modern but Bryan does employ some unique words and tones throughout, which I quite enjoyed!).

As the murder mystery unfolds, we see multiple threads from side-stories unravel into what becomes a very beautiful fabric resembling a classic Bryan Davis book. As per always (I've come to count on it, because I find it most encouraging), there are deeply embedded themes of forgiveness, redemption, and sacrifice taken from a solid Christian foundation. In all honesty, when I read the initial synopsis of the book I was a bit concerned that the topic may veer away from the Biblical foundation I've come to know Bryan for always building off of. However, I was not disappointed, and you won't be either, as he manages to weave a beautiful story in a unique setting that teaches the principles of agape love in a culture full of religiosity and selfishness.

Now, before I give away the whole plot - can't do that! - let me break this down into my typical categories :) Hopefully, by the end of it, I will have given you a good reason to get yourself a copy of this fabulous read!
  • Goodies: 19th century Victorian-esque setting. A maze :O (we love Bryan's mysterious underworld subplots). Dripping candles and burning lanterns. Bones...lots of bones. Green glowing things (I shan't say more). Multiple languages including Gaelic. Sharp wit and vibrant verbal exchanges. Carriages and mud. Ghosts. Lots of fire. Murder (obviously, lol). A masquerade with fabulous costumes. A mysterious library (don't we all love books?). Hallucinations? Poison? Or was it all a lie?? Hmmm....

  • Character Development: (4/5) Justin Trotter, our relatively soft spoken main character, shows himself to be a stalwart individual throughout the progression of his story. He goes through classic development and change, as should be expected of an MC. However, his main components (honesty, integrity, servitude) remain strongly intact. He struggles with his feelings and is, in a way, blind to certain character flaws of those around him. I found this intriguing because his twin sister suffers from physical blindness. Marc and Francine, two strong supporting characters, are relatively static in their contributions to the plot, as most good side-characters are. The same can also be said for the majority of our ghostly visitors. However, Joan of Arc, while also a static character, displays very strong and vibrant emotion during her scenes and truly was one of my favourites. The one point off comes primarily from the fact that character development was strictly in Justin's domain. It's more of a personal preference - I would have loved to see others develop a bit as well, but I do understand this is Justin's story. 

  • Content Snatchery: (4.5/5) Quite fabulous. While the plot was a little slow to get off the ground, once it was in the air it was well and truly in the air. The story has a lot of physical movement - we are constantly following characters back and forth across the region. We jump in a carriage, get thrown into the mud, cross a river, climb a ladder, put out a fire, start a fire, etc etc. If you're one for lots of action then this a certain the tale for you :) The only thing I will pick at here are the river scenes... there were SO many river crossing scenes that it did become a bit predictable (perhaps my mind was tired of imagining these poor characters soaked to the bone and shivering... I have personal experience with cold rivers and it isn't very pleasant). 

  • Boring Parts: (minimal to non-existant) Except maybe the multiple river crossings. I read this novel in ~3hrs straight - yes, my mother has called me a book pig before, it's ok, I accept this fate. So if that doesn't tell you anything about how captivating it is, then nothing will I presume. 

  • Romance: (some kissy scenes) ... they weren't over done and had been placed strategically to develop the plot. Also, given that this is in 19th century Paris, these scenes were written with a very conservative hand. I approve (I'm not a fan of overly romantic plots). 

  • My eyes are sweating: (2/5) I think, in this case, it would be more along the lines of, my-eyeballs-are-about-to-fall-out :P While there were some endearing moments that took be back to the good old Oracles of Fire days, I didn't specifically shed any tears (although my eyes MAY have welled up a couple times). Primarily, there were plenty of anxiety-inducing scenes that resolved (thankfully) and so let that be a forewarning as you read :) 

  • Sensitivity content: I normally don't have this bullet point in my reviews, but I do need to put it into this one. I must place a strong sensitive content warning because of two particular topics covered. In addition to the discussion of beheadings, deaths, murders, allusion to prostitution, and so forth there is also mention of both physical abuse and an illegal sexual act. I think all of these topics were handled well, were not gratuitous. They also resolved with a strong lesson at the end of the novel. However, I admit that the very latter point was one I personally thought to be unnecessary to help the plot of any story along (hence my final rating). So be forewarned in your readings. Because of this sensitive content, I would absolutely advise that this is not a tale for those under the age of 16. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this tale. It had a strong message of sacrifice, redemption, and salvation. It highlighted key issues with the religious spirit and drove home the message that the position of the heart towards God and others is a very important thing to regard carefully. On the outside, we may appear godly, honest, and concerned about the welfare of others. However, God Himself knows where we truly stand and what lies we tell our hearts to feel better about our misconduct.

{Rating} - 4/5 Stars

Now, if this review has won your heart over and you want to purchase a copy of Let the Ghosts Speak, please check out the following links to grab your copy!


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To learn more about Bryan Davis, check out the following links! 


Signed with a lantern, 
Squeaks.

December 17, 2019

All the Enemy Wants is Blood


This phrase has been on my mind: “All the enemy has ever wanted is blood”. I heard it from a preacher at a Prayer Canada meeting back in July 2019, and it has resonated with me ever since. Just look at our society today; what is on the rise? Rates for suicide, self-harm, violence (as per usual), abortion, dishonour, lawlessness etc. I’m particularly concerned with the former two, especially within Christian communities. There are so many people who profess faith in Jesus who struggle to live righteously. We say we read the Word of God, but we do not practice the teachings – do we truly have streams of living water flowing from within us? Or are we shedding blood to pay for a sacrifice that we can never even hope to cover? Why are we not living under the peace of God with His joy overflowing our hearts?
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All the enemy has ever wanted is blood. Look at the Bible – the pagan cultures in Moses and Joshua’s days were offering people as blood sacrifices to satiate their false gods. The prophets of Baal (whom Elijah mocked, by the way) spent hours cutting their bodies for a god that never once showed up. There were constant battles and injustices against a multitude of people groups. Can I go off on those prophets of Baal for a second? How often do you feel hopeless when you’re stuck in the repeating cycle of a self-harm addiction? How often do you find yourself thinking, “I want to stop! I hate this! I’m ruining myself” only to continue the pattern because of the temporary relief it offers? Kind of sounds like those prophets of Baal – calling out to a god that they think has promised to show up… but he never does. It’s all an illusion. It’s all part of the enemy’s overarching plan to spill more blood and undermine the final sacrifice Christ paid.

Has it even changed? No. The enemy is just as sneaky about how he requests that blood. He does it through your mind – he perverts the body of Christ by tempting her into sin (pornography, gossip, adultery, impurity, self-injury etc). He calls her worthless and says she must pay the price. He mocks your beauty and your confidence; tells you who would even care about you because you are too little of this or too much of that?

Church! Jesus paid that price! You are squandering the gift that God has given you. You are living unrighteous lives when you know better and you will stand on account for your actions if you do not lift your face out of the pig sty and fix your eyes on Jesus.

He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the only one capable of covering a multitude of sins and robing us with His righteousness. He is the one who will teach us how to be pure and holy as He is pure and holy. The enemy is always on the hunt for fresh blood – you need to put on your spiritual armor, turn around, and say to his face, “I command you in the name of Jesus to get away. I have been covered in the blood of Christ and His sacrifice pays for all of my sin. You have NO authority here so you must go, in Jesus name.”

Be bold. Do not be ashamed of your God. Jesus said to us, 
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Mat 7:13-14)
He also said to the Church in Laodicea, through the revelation of John, 
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:15-16)
Finally, I want to bring to your attention one last thing from the book of Revelation; we are told this about the return of Jesus: 
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Rev 22:14-17)
Jesus is going to return and the church needs to be prepared. Are you sitting around with an empty lamp that has no oil? Are you immersing yourself in the ways of the world until you look just like all the other people who do not have the Spirit of the Living God within them? Will Jesus look at you and say, “I do not know you”? Just read Luke 13:25-30. There will be those who know OF Jesus, but do not truly KNOW Him. Now is the time to humble yourself before God, in repentance, and sit at His feet to begin to truly know Him. He longs to hear from you – He desires a relationship with you. He is not a God who condones the structures of a religion or an institution – He is a God of relationship and intimacy and He wants His people to be in His Word, dedicated to praying with all sincerity.

So that is what I have to say on this matter. All the enemy ever wants is blood – and that is all he pursues to this day. It is his purpose to see the people of God shamed and brought low by foolish actions, words, and choices. It is his joy to see blood spilled in the hopeless pursuit of peace and fulfillment outside of Jesus Christ. Christians – pick up your cross and follow Jesus. Humble yourselves before God that He may raise you up. Get into the Word, no matter how miserably hard it is most days, and fix your eyes on Jesus. Refrain from all behaviours that have you looking like the world and lead holy and pure lives. You are a royal priesthood called to live according to the path of righteousness that God has laid before us.

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This is a race, not a walk in the woods. This is a battle, not a playfight. There is a real cost at stake here – are you squandering what you have been given, or are you living fully and completely on fire for Jesus? Examine yourselves, church. This is not a game; lives are in the balance here, and Jesus is calling you to fulfill your purpose.


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Signed with love, 
Squeaks.