- Start by making a list of your current and future goals. Write it down! That’s what my wife and I do. (Thanks to Kwyndala for teaching me that habit!) It gives you something tangible to physically look at so you don’t have to work so hard imagining or remembering. It works! I know a few people that do actually appear to “have it all figured out” and are always doing something that seems meaningful and worthwhile. I bet they’ve made a list or two!
- Find like-minded people who will understand your ambitions and encourage you. If they have similar goals, even better. Build each other up. Knowing you’re not alone can be a huge confidence boost!
- Cut out any negative talk or thinking that you may be caught up in. Build a habit of focusing in on the positive aspects of your goals. Think and speak positively. After all, the first person standing in the way of your progress is probably YOU! I know for certain that’s true for me. I’m the hardest person that I have to deal with!
I have very exciting news! As some of you know, I’m a musician. (or so I’m told…) I’ve been working on a solo EP for what seems like forever, but I’m proud to say it is finally DONE! That’s just the beginning of the exciting part. Several new things have happened this last few days.
Recently I submitted one of my songs “No Other Way” to an entertainment website/record label called Indie Vision Music. Long story short, they liked it enough that they wanted to upload it to their website! Not only that, but it will also be featured on their Family And Friends sampler album set for release at the Audiofeed festival on July 4th. This is a huge opportunity.
Since submitting my song to IVM, I’ve realized just how unprepared I was for such a positive response. Suddenly, things are crazy. I’m scrambling to get copyrights sorted out, get my cover artwork done (pretty much required for putting your music online nowadays), finding the right publishing/distribution company, etc. With all that’s going on, there comes a lot of news that I want you guys to know about, so you’ll be seeing this blog undergoing a lot of cool changes.
So, what’s next? In the next few days, I’ll be working on affiliating with a PRO (Publishing Rights Organization, such as ASCAP, BMI, etc.) opening a business bank account through Bowen Branches (gotta have somewhere to put all those piles of cash I’m sure will start rolling in) and lots of other things. Through all of this, I’m learning about what it takes to truly be an independent artist. Now I think I know why some really talented people just never make it very far. It takes more than just talent. It requires a lot of research, determination, and perseverance. Most of all, relying on the help and guidance of a great Heavenly Father is key. An extremely helpful and supportive wife certainly doesn’t hurt either!
Even though all of this seems like an endless amount of time and effort, the entire process has been totally worthwhile. From the songwriting to recording, mixing, mixing again, mixing AGAIN, mastering, finding a concept for cover artwork, finishing the cover, signing up for distribution… it’s all been tedious yet exciting. Then comes figuring out how to release it to the world. I’m in that process as we speak. After that, the sky’s the limit. I’m anxious to see what the future holds, and I’m glad you’re along for the ride!
Check out my bio here and leave me a comment to let me know what you think so far! See you soon.
Having a relationship with our Wonderful Creator is important; but what does that take? I’ve heard people say, “It’s not about ‘head knowledge’; it’s all about having a relationship.” That is partially true. However, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to have a TRUE relationship with the Father without the pursuit of KNOWING Him.
Think of a courtship or dating relationship. How would your future spouse feel if you had no idea what his/her favorite things were? What if keeping track of dates and times wasn’t important to you? How long do you think that relationship would last? Would it even blossom into a marriage, or would it wither into dust? I believe this kind of relationship has a snowball’s chance in… umm… a really hot place? It would be easily wrecked whenever difficult times come along. In fact, we see relationships like this fail every day. Sadly, it’s quite common.
Now, let’s look at the opposite scenario. In this relationship, each partner pays close attention to the “little things”. Each one believes in the importance of dates and times, anniversaries, closely held interests and moral standards, etc. How would that relationship look? It is likely that this couple would make it to the altar and go on to cultivate a strong, lasting, healthy marriage.
Think about how it makes you feel when someone takes a genuine interest in who you are, what you do, what you like, etc. How about when someone obviously doesn’t care? Not that they have a blatant disregard for you or those things, just that it slips their mind. That wouldn’t make you feel very loved, would it?
I believe our relationship with the Father operates the same way. If we want a true relationship with Him, shouldn’t we DESIRE to know Him? Wouldn’t we want to know who He is, what pleases Him, what He expects from His bride? Absolutely! “It is written in the Prophets, ‘They will all be taught by ADONAI.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me.” (John 6:45 CJB)
In turn, shouldn’t we want Him to know us as well? That’s the interaction that occurs when a true, meaningful relationship is pursued. We talk. We share our feelings, our thoughts, our hopes and dreams, our fears, our goals, etc. Then, we listen. We eagerly await hearing what our Wonderful Creator loves, what pleases Him, and what He wants from our relationship with Him.
We are ultimately responsible for doing our part in maintaining this relationship with Him. After all, it was Yeshua (Jesus) who was documented in the book of Matthew, saying, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On that Day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’ Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!'” (Matthew 7:21-23 CJB)
Clearly, it is important for us to know the Father. How do we do that? By pursuing a real, true relationship. How is that done according to Him? The previous passage plainly points out that even if we prophesy, expel demons, and perform miracles in His Name (which are all great and awesome things), we still never truly know Him unless we seek out the Father’s will. In Hosea chapter 4, God says, “My people are destroyed for want (lack) of knowledge. Because you rejected knowledge, I will also reject you as cohen (priest) for me. Because you forgot the Torah (laws/instructions) of your God, I will also forget your children.” (Hosea 4:6 CJB) This sounds rather severe, but it drives home the point that our Heavenly Father is serious about us knowing Him.
So, how do we get to know God more? One of the most effective ways is to spend time in His Word. There’s no better way to learn who God is than to read about Him. As your knowledge of Him increases, so will your faith. Need tips on making time for God in your life? Click here to see several ways you can do that. After you’ve begun doing that, what next? Is just having faith really enough?
Simply “believing” in him is not enough for a relationship to truly take hold. Even the demons believe, and tremble in terror, according to James 2:19. The Hebrew (and dare I say, original) definition of “believe” is expressed in the form of 2 Hebrew words. First is “aman“, which is a verb that means “to be firm or sure”. Second is the word “emunah“, which is a noun often translated as “faith”. However, “aman” is the root word of “emunah”. That means the state of having faith is not just believing intellectually, but DOING something to show it. You can say you “believe” the Word of God is true all day long, but to prove it by your actions is a different story. To truly have faith is to trust AND obey.
In James 2:14-19 as mentioned above, we see the statement, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can such faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in shalom (peace), keep warm and well fed,’ but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is that? So also faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself. but someone says, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith without works and I will show you faith by my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe– and shudder!” (James 2:14-19 CJB)
As quoted earlier, when Yeshua says, “Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!” as harsh as it sounds, He expects us to know very well what He means. He does not want us to be lawless. He wants us to seek out His will, His heart. According to His own words, we do that by keeping His commandments. In John 14, this is again confirmed by the words of the Messiah: “If you love me, you will keep my commands;” (John 14:15 CJB)
Be sure to like and share this article with your friends and family! Find us on Facebook and Twitter @BowenBranches, and don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter. Until next time, Shalom!
There have been accusations thrown around for decades, saying, “_____ band is Satanic!” or a more general statement like, “Rock and roll music is the devil’s tongue!” However, you need to beware of some modern bands that are worshiping Satan openly and trying to convert others to follow them. One in particular is Ghost.
In today’s world, its often hard to distinguish different groups. Some groups or artists are very obviously “Christian” or “God-positive” in their approach to lyrics, while others are a bit more ambiguous. Others are the same on the other side of the spectrum. Some groups or artists are outwardly “secular” or even “anti-religious”, while others like to ride the fence. All this to say, there is at least one modern group you should be deeply concerned about and I feel that they need to be exposed.
Ghost is a Swedish hard rock/ heavy metal band. More specifically, Ghost is a Satanic hard rock band that was founded in 2008. You may say, “So? What’s so shocking about that? We’ve heard of this before.” Well, let me tell you. This is not the same thing as what happened in the 1970s with Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, etc. Those artists may have put on a persona as “devil music” bands, but in their personal lives, they were never full-blown Satanists. For the most part, the controversy and shock value just boosted their publicity and record sales. Now, I don’t condone this tactic whatsoever, so I am not saying that “toying with Satanism” is okay. What I AM saying is that Ghost are a band of what I would call “evangelical Satanists”.
What do I mean by coining such a term? Ghost is a “Satanic ministry”, which they will freely admit. Their goal is to actually worship Satan and convert new followers. I realize at this point that any dissenters will say I sound just like every “Turn or Burn” preacher they’ve ever run across. If that’s the case, so be it.
I’m not writing this to gain popularity with anyone. I’m sending out a warning to anyone who may be unaware of the severity of this situation. We are in a spiritual war with the Adversary. Don’t take it as anything less.
The scary thing about Ghost is that their music would be considered by many to sound “very good”. Lucifer was the chief musician/ worship leader in Heaven, after all. Why would we expect anything less? Ghost takes a different approach than most modern bands who want to appear “scary” or “tough” or “intimidating”. Instead, they craft masterfully written songs, chock full of deceptively catchy hooks and melodies. This has helped them tremendously in gaining the support of a major label recording contract, not to mention an ever-growing legion of fans. Even the mainstream media is seemingly unfazed by their growing presence. In fact, they seem quite accepting of it. It won’t take long to find out that they even have a growing fan-base within the community of other rock celebrities. James Hetfield (Metallica), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures, etc.), and Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual, etc.) are just a few who would likely say Ghost is their new favorite band. As a matter of fact, Dave Grohl even stood in as one of the “Nameless Ghouls” in the band for at least one performance. (Nameless Ghouls are the title of the band members, as they all are keeping their identities anonymous at this time. Same goes for “Papa Emeritus”, the band’s anonymous frontman who plays the role of a “Satanic Pope”.)
Many of Ghost’s fans are more than willing to eat up their message of Satanic worship, along with renouncing any previous faith they may have had in God. The band’s lyrics are formulated to cut straight to the heart of any listener who may have doubts about their beliefs, more especially those who feel they have been “hurt by the church”. Their job is to sow further seeds of doubt and cause the listener to think they have finally “seen the light”. I have chosen not to even quote any of their lyrics here, but I will say that their concerts are described as feeling like an “orthodox devil-worshiping” experience. Some songs even seem to invoke the devil by calling out a number of his many names and titles. If you think something like this does not possess the power to put someone under a spell, you are deceived.
A quick Google search would let most people know exactly what we’re dealing with here, but for some reason, I have even witnessed the teenage children of some God-fearing families becoming fans of Ghost, not realizing that they are legitimately worshiping Satan.
[I’m honestly shocked at some of the responses I’ve received recently, not so much the ones from Satanists, atheists, agnostics, etc., but from those who would consider themselves Christians/believers in various capacities. They say, “Oh, it’s just theatrics. Don’t you know it’s just satire? They’re not really Satanists. It’s just an act.”
Even if this is true, that Ghost is just an act, that it’s just satirical, how can anyone think… I’m sorry… let me rephrase that… How can any Christ-follower think that’s ok? How can satire make blasphemy acceptable? It doesn’t. I don’t know any other way to put it.
It pains me to have even done the research on Ghost, since I don’t really want to expose myself to their content. Anyone who knows me is aware that I myself am a hard rock musician, but everything I play and write is to the glory of our Wonderful Creator. Now that I am trying to live a set apart life, it is necessary that I draw a line in the sand between such artists and myself.
All I am asking is that you please take a good look at what you (or your kids) are watching or listening to. It really does matter a lot more than you think, regardless of the style of music. If it sounds perfectly innocent, we must be all the more vigilant.
“For you used to be darkness; but now, united with the Lord, you are light. Live like children of light, for the fruit of the light is in every kind of goodness, rightness and truth — try to determine what will please the Lord. Have nothing to do with the deeds produced by darkness, but instead expose them, for it is shameful even to speak of the things these people do in secret. But everything exposed to the light is revealed clearly for what it is, since anything revealed is a light. This is why it says, ‘Get up, sleeper! Arise from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you!’ Therefore, pay careful attention to how you conduct your life — live wisely, not unwisely. Use your time well, for these are evil days. So don’t be foolish, but try to understand what the will of the Lord is.” Eph. 5:8-15 CJB
“If we claim to have fellowship with Him while we are walking in darkness, we are lying and not living out the truth. But if we are walking in the light, as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of His Son Yeshua purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7 CJB
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” 1 John 3:4-9 ESV
Please leave your feedback in the comments section. I would like to know of your experiences with Ghost or any other evangelical Satanic bands so that they can be exposed for how dangerous they truly are.
As always, I hope and pray that this message has blessed you richly. Shalom.
Have you ever stopped to take a look at your life and thought, “How can I improve my relationship with God?” One simple solution would be to spend more time alone with Him, right? But how? Looking at your daily schedule, where on Earth can you find the spare time to do that? Here are 7 things you can try implementing into your life to make it happen.
#1. Start and end your day with Him.
“These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Deut. 6:6-7 CJB
From the moment we get up in the morning, His Word should be on our minds. What if nothing like that pops into your mind first thing in the morning? Open up your Bible and read! The morning is the time when our brain is the most receptive. You could begin with something as simple as a verse, a chapter, or a full-on daily devotional. Not enough time to do that? Try getting up a little earlier. Even 15 minutes could make the difference you need to get started. Isn’t that usually the hardest part? Whatever the case, ask the Father for wisdom and understanding of His Word, then seek to find something precious in that portion of Scripture to meditate upon. It will change the course of your day. Finally, dont let yourself fall asleep without spending a few minutes in prayer or worship.
#2. Keep the Word close by.
In this age of computers, smartphones, tablets, etc., there’s nothing stopping you from downloading a free Bible app to have with you wherever you go. YouVersion has a great free app that I highly recommend.
#3. Make it a priority.
That’s right. Spending time with God is an essential part of your life rather than a nice accessory. You must build it into your life rather than onto it. This means replacing some of the less important activities in your day with prayer and reading. If you’ve taken my advice from point #2, then the next time you’re about to get on Facebook or YouTube, move your thumb over to that Bible app instead. The more you decide that the Bible is a necessity for your life, the more you will find yourself making time for it. Our desire to follow through with our commitment to get into the Word must outweigh our desire for other things.
#4. Take it seriously.
Pray for God to help you take your time with Him seriously. If you lack enthusiasm while reading the Bible you will not desire to keep coming back to it. There’s nothing more discouraging than the feeling of having wasted your (or God’s) time. Ask the Holy Spirit to spark a fire inside of you and give you an intense longing for more of His presence in your life.
#5. Get plugged in.
No matter how independent we may feel, everyone needs fellowship. Regardless of whether or not you belong to a congregation, if you’re not involved in a Bible study, I suggest finding a group of folks that preach, teach, and love the Word. Home Bible studies have changed my family’s life. Spending time with a few other families and friends in the comfort of a home could make all the difference for you, too. A casual, inviting atmosphere fosters good friendships and a deep sense of belonging that people need. Plus, you could gain new insight into portions of Scripture you may have previously found hard to comprehend. Doing this even once a week could inspire you to hunger and thirst more deeply for the Word, and even for more fellowship. Not a bad cycle to get caught up in.
#6. Be consistent.
Human beings are creatures of habit. Recent studies have found that it takes 66 days to form a new habit. Don’t let this scare you away. You must be goal-oriented if you are determined to make God’s Word a new habit in your daily life. Set out to pray, read, and study at the same time, same place, every day. Before you know it, the Word will be so built-up in you that you won’t want to stop. If this can replace a bad habit you’re trying to break, even better!
#7. Realize your need for Him.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up”. James 4:10 CJB
Pride can get in the way of a lot of things in our life, namely, progress. Ask the Father to remove any pride from your heart that would cause you to resist reading, studying, and praying daily. Once you are humble, then the Father can really work with you and form you into what you were meant to be. He is the potter and we are the clay, so we should desire to be an open vessel in which He can pour His Spirit, His wisdom, and His mayim chaiyim (living water). His Word is life, and we really can’t have TRUE life without Him.
“The fear of ADONAI is a fountain of life enabling one to avoid deadly trap.” Prov 14:27 CJB
Please take a moment to sign up for our monthly newsletter and share this post with your friends. Thanks and Shalom!