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Do Not Fear

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity
(of cowardice, of craven and cringing fear),

but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love
and of a calm and well-balanced mind

and discipline and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

After taking a few minutes to scroll through my newsfeed on Facebook this morning, my heart was saddened. With the recent election results and the fact that a non-political person was elected to office, there’s a huge spirit of fear taking over our nation. People are lashing out, saying we’re doomed as a nation and basically disrespecting those in authority over us… and it’s all because of fear.

As Christians, we’re not made to fear. We should be the positive light shining brightly on social media, encouraging people to trust our Almighty God. “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1) No matter how bad things seem right now or how ridiculous it may sound to say we elected a reality show host to be the 45th president of our nation, there’s no need to let fear take control.

Try to trust that God has everything under control, because He does. Look on the positive side of things. At least we don’t have a really corrupted politician in the presidential seat and there’s always checks and balances in case things really get out of hand. Don’t let fear steal your joy. Remember, “the thief does not come except to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Everything will work out. God has a plan. We just have to trust him and respect those in authority.

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Reap the Benefits

Don’t you just love it when God unexpectedly hits home a truth that you’ve always known about but never took the time to meditate on? That’s exactly what happened to me yesterday. It’s a simple truth, but once I spent some time reading and talking with God about it, the revelation of what it actually means for my life took hold and got me all excited about living as a child of the Most High!

All this past week, I’ve been listening to Dan Mohler’s “School of Kingdom Living” series. He’s been speaking on our identity in Christ and what standing in that revelation means for our everyday lives – from praying continually for each other (Colossians 1:9) or learning how to have an actual relationship with our heavenly Father.

One of the verses he mentioned was Psalm 103:1-5.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Does anything in this passage stick out to you? It certainly did for me!

As I was reading along with Dan, he pointed out the word “benefits.” Defined as “an advantage of profit gained from something” or “to receive an advantage, profit, gain,” it’s a word that doesn’t have any strings attached. It’s a gift you receive by being a part of something.

Well, I immediately shut off the laptop and spent some time asking God what He had for me in this passage. I read it again… and was completely floored by the realization of how incredibly blessed we are as followers of Christ. We get all of these things – forgiveness, healing, redemption, crowns, satisfaction and youth – just by being a child of the Most High God! There are no conditions and no stipulations. It’s all completely free!

Take a moment to evaluate your life. Where has God shown up? What things has He unexpectedly provided before you even asked for them? How have you been healed? I know it can be hard at times to see the blessings during the difficult times, but taking the time to meditate on how He has blessed us in the past can help to open our eyes for the blessings that are to come.

If you’re having trouble coming up with more than one or two blessings, ask Him to show you examples that you may have missed. He’s faithful and will be happy to share with you. For “the Lord your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).

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Adding “Home” and “Blog” pages to your WordPress

It’s taken me a little longer to get to this point that I expected, but I finally started working on getting my “Home,” “Hire Me,” “Blog” and “Contact” pages set up for my WordPress site! Yes, there is only the basic information there, but it’s a start and I do plan to embellish it a little more over time.

As I was looking at my site, I realized that I didn’t want my blog posts to be the first thing my visitors saw. I knew that one of the ways to catch a client’s eye is providing them with an idea of what you can offer, but while my posts can be helpful and encouraging at times, they don’t always display my true potential as a freelancer.

What I needed was a “Home” page, but I had no idea how to create one, much less what to feature on it.

So, I started researching and this is what I learned:

Static Home Page

Go to your Dashboard and select Pages. Click “Add New” and type “Home” in the title section of the page. If your template has a default home page template, you’ll find that drop-down menu on the right, under “Page Attributes” (not all templates have this feature). Scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck “Allow comments” and “Allow trackbacks.” Click “Publish” (you can add information to it now or later).

Blog page

Go to Pages and click “Add New.” Type “Blog” in the title section. Scroll down and uncheck “Allow comments” and “Allow trackbacks.” Click “Publish.”

Set up

Go to Settings and select “Reading.” Under Front Page Display, select “a static page.” You’ll see two drop-down menus: Front Page and Posts Page. Select “Home” for Front Page and “Blog” for Posts Page. Save your changes.

Go to Appearance and select “Menu.” Your two new pages should appear on the left side of the page. Click the empty boxes next to them and click “Add to Menu.” You’ll see them appear on the right side of your screen. Save your work.

What to write?

So, now what? You’ve got your Home and Blog pages all set up, but what should you feature on your home page?

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Remember when you wrote an essay or short story for class and you had to come up with a hook that caught your reader’s attention? Think about the audience that you’re trying to reach, what they may need and how you can catch their attention. Why should they keep looking at your home page? What do they need that you have?

Be sure to list some of your areas of expertise, maybe feature some sample photos if you’re into photography and sell yourself (promote your new blog page too)! Don’t be shy about what you can offer to the business world, but don’t make it too wordy either. Too many words can potentially scare people away.

Want more pages?

It’s easy! To create more pages, such as “Contact” or “Hire Me,” go to Pages and “Add New” and fill in the title with whatever you want.

Once those are created and published, go to Appearance and select “Menu.” Be sure to click the empty boxes by your newly created pages, select “Add to Menu” and they will appear in your menu list on the right. You can rearrange the menus by clicking and dragging. Save your changes.

And that’s it!

If you want more information, I suggest you check out wpbeginner.com, as they have several great resource videos on how to get things set up on your website.

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“Let Us Bring You Into Our World…”

The paranormal has always been one of Chad Calek’s interests.

“Instead of going to spring break, I was going to the Waverly Hills Sanatorium or the Villisca Axe Murder House. I was going to all these haunted places to investigate them,” he said.

More than 200 students, faculty and visitors gathered on Friday to hear Calek speak in the Frank G. Pogue Student Center’s Multipurpose Room. Calek spoke about his purported encouters with ghosts and showed footage he and his team recorded for the television show “Paranormal State.”

In “Good vs. Evil” – Calek’s first episode on the show – Chip Coffey, a psychic, and Ryan Buell, one of the directors, told Calek there was a demon in the basement and suggested he check it out.

While sitting on a chair in the middle of the basement, an ominous growl came out of the darkness.

Calek radioed upstairs and asked if anyone else had heard it. “Yeah, man, [we] heard it,” they replid.

The growl came again and Calek told the team upstairs, “There’s something down here, bro.”

“People ask me how I could just sit there and listen to the growling without moving.”

Calek laughed as he described the situation to the audience.

“Well, the truth is, the growling came from between me and the stairway out… If that thing had come from behind me, I would’ve been flying through that door like a pissed off Sasquatch!”

Calek has been investigating such phenomena since the age of 12, when his family was torn apart by paranormal attacks.

His parents and siblings had told him they had been experiencing things, but Calek had seen and felt nothing.

Calek said he would shout into the air to provoke the ghosts to show themselves when the family wasn’t there; he wanted to be a believer and not think that his family was crazy.

One night at 3 a.m., Calek woke up to his father reciting Scriptures.

According to Calek, when he looked into his parents’ room, he saw his mother’s hair was being pulled by something that wasn’t there.

She also had mild burn marks on her skin and was speaking in Latin, said Calek.

“It’s when you’re looking into the eyes of your mother, and it’s just not your mother and everything that’s going on is just shattering your entire belief system,” Calek said.

That was the moment that he decided to investigate the paranormal.

Throughout their time with “Paranormal State,” Calek and his team have encountered paranormal activity in Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Villisca Axe Murder House as well as churches.

“Our goal is to go out and challenge the biggest [and] most scary, horrifying places around, document that footage and show the people have the power,” said Calek.

This will be the last season on “Paranormal State” for the team. Calek and Buell have been working on a documentary film called “American Ghost Hunter,” which will be released June 2.

“It came out 10 times more intense than we had imagined,” said Calek. The film covers the paranormal activity his family experienced for more than two decades.

According to Calek, “the stuff we captured is the most compelling evidence we have for the paranormal.”

Calek and Buell realized people are going to have questions and will want answers once they see his film.

That’s when they decided to tour around the world with the film. They intend to give their audience a taste of their world.

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia will be two of their even locations this year.

The Student Philanthropy Council sponsored “Student Philanthropy Day: Trail of the Dead Tour 2011” and made it possible for Calek to come to campus.

Visit his website at: http://www.wolfmanproductions.com/chad_calek.html

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