Spiritual Warfare 101.2: Fighting back with the armor of God

In my previous post, I offered an introduction to spiritual warfare, including why we often become discouraged when we engage in consistent intercessory prayer. The enemy wants to keep us from praying for others effectively and persistently, and he will try to deceive us into thinking that our prayers are not making a difference and are a waste of time and energy.

God has not left us defenseless in these matters. We are not sitting ducks in the midst of the spiritual battlefield; we are fully-equipped soldiers with armor and weapons of our own (Eph. 6:10–17). Continue reading

Spiritual Warfare 101.1: When persistent prayer gets rough

Paying attention to context is important when reading any book, particularly the Bible. A single verse is certainly meaningful on its own, but considering it within the framework of the verses around it can lead to additional insights.

For example, the foundational verse of Prayers for Oppa, my performer/fan devotional, is Ephesians 6:18 (NIV):

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Interestingly, the verses preceding this (Eph. 6:10–17) deal with the armor of God. The implication here is that prayer goes beyond conversation with our heavenly Father. It is engagement in battle, a battle that is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). Continue reading

What to do when you disagree with a performer’s work

It’s happened to most of us at one time or another. Your favorite performer releases their long-awaited new song, but instead of being elated, you find yourself feeling disappointed. Perhaps the song is a departure from their previous work and you just don’t care for the sound. Or maybe their new concept presents an image that’s a drastic change from how they previously presented themselves—from innocent to sexy, for example, or from cute to dark—and it makes you uncomfortable.

An internal conflict results. You still enjoy this performer and you’re looking forward to their future releases, but you don’t like their current work. What now? Continue reading

Quotes about writing – by writers, for writers

Nothing encourages a writer quite like words from another writer, a fellow warrior in the trenches of wordsmithery. If you’re not fortunate enough to have access to other writers in the form of a writers group or a writing partner, there are plenty of quotes about writing from fellow writers out there to help you keep your motivation and your sanity on what is often lightly referred to as “the writing journey.”

@AdviceToWriters on Twitter is an excellent resource for such quotes. Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve jotted down over the past year, organized into handy categories for ease of perusal. Continue reading

Why it matters how performers use social media

South Korea experienced a national tragedy last month when the Sewol ferry sank. Of the 476 people who were on board the ferry, 276 have been confirmed dead. The majority of the passengers were students and teachers from Danwon High School in Ansan.

Performers in the South Korean entertainment industry took to their social media accounts, asking their fans to pray for those affected by the disaster and for the nation as a whole. As a result, thousands, if not millions, of people prayed. Continue reading

A special prayer for healing and hope

The past year has been particularly rough for my community. More than a dozen people of all ages have passed away, many of them due to car accidents and unexpected medical events. There are about five thousand people in my small New Hampshire town, so everyone has been touched in some way by these deaths. If you didn’t know someone who died, you knew someone who was close to them.

Last Saturday, the community church held a special service for healing and reflection. I was asked to write and read a prayer focused on hope and healing, and I wanted to share it here for anyone else who is in need of comfort and the reassurance of God’s love and presence. Continue reading

Need a break from love songs? Try Atom and His Package

Whether it’s a Mozart aria or the latest chart-topping single, the vast majority of songs are about love in some capacity. Every once in a while, it’s refreshing to listen to a song that isn’t about romance or heartbreak.

On those occasions, I turn to the synthpunk mayhem of Atom and His Package. Continue reading

Two common mistakes columnists make

I’ve been writing my award-winning humor column, Tete-a-tete, for nearly six years, and I previously worked in a newsroom for a decade. As a result, I have been privy to the work of many lifestyle and humor columnists, as well as reader and editor reactions to these columns.

There are two significant mistakes that lifestyle/humor columnists commonly make, both of which affect the way their work is received as well as the longevity of their columnist careers. Continue reading

What do old Hollywood musicals and East Asian variety shows have in common?

If you’ve read the bio I’ve posted here on my website, you’ll notice that I enjoy watching “East Asian variety shows and old Hollywood musicals.” These two forms of entertainment may seem quite disparate at first, but they share a number of similarities. Continue reading

The three greatest love songs in the world

As I have previously written, love poems tend to make me almost (accidentally) burn down my house, but love songs are another matter. There’s something about the combination of instrumental music, singing and lyrics that conveys more emotion than the written word alone.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve selected a few of my favorite love songs, ones that may not already be in your holiday playlist or mix CD. In order to make the cut, a song needs to have quality lyrics in addition to being sonically pleasing. Continue reading