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"Faith", By La Ticia Sunshine

Many people in times of turmoil and despair yearn for a better tomorrow and at some point, someone has shared the message “have faith.” It’s amazing how a short sentence can influence a shift in any situation. The shift often takes place in the unseen realm of the spirit and soon visible signs of change begin to manifest. The person receiving the message must have an ear to hear and voice to command it to be so. But what if you’re not a spiritual person and are not used to hearing or applying the term “have faith”? How do you interpret the message; what does it mean? From a spiritual perspective “to have faith” is to believe that things will turn out the way you’ve thought, imagined, and seen it in your mind even when you’re present circumstances appear different. 


As I am writing, my brain is causing me to pause and reflect on Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. What is substance? Can it be described as the feelings that go into the moments of hoping for a shift; a change. How do we even have the audacity to hope for tomorrow, when we can barely get through today? Yet, there’s something inside of us that pushes us to search for more and it gives us the assurance that there’s better reserved just for us. No matter how dire the circumstances, this thing on the inside doesn’t allow our natural eyes to deceive us and our brain seemingly locks in on the positive images that have danced in our mind. We often find ourselves starting to take the necessary steps to get to the place we’ve believed for. What is hope? Having and possessing an expectation of an experience; an event or a vision to come into fruition. We all have the power of vision that supersedes natural understanding, yet most of us allow this ability to lie dormant; going underutilized for years on end until one day you’re thrust in a position where you almost have to depend solely on a vision opposite of what you see. The circumstances are most likely grim and those around you are ready or already have given up hope, spoken out loud negativity and bonded the ideal that anything opposite of what they see is even possible.  2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.


You’ve imagined it, you’ve heard it, you’ve felt it stirring in your soul; in your being from head to toe. It’s so real, it hurts to continue to think about it without taking action to bring it forth. Call those things unseen to the natural eye as though they were. You’ve got to demand in the natural out-loud that everything in the spiritual realm that is moving on your behalf to make way for the full manifestation of things you’ve set your heart upon! You’ve heard the voice from within, but who said it? Well I believe that there’s a spiritual being inside of you who is far more powerful than the natural person moving daily in the world. Am I getting too deep? Good, because I’m sure we’ve all heard a voice from the inside of us cry out. Have you never paused to wonder who authorized this voice to speak; who gave this voice authority? In this moment of questioning the spirit brings to my remembrance the scripture Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. You must receive what you’ve heard and put action behind those thoughts. You must get into a space of activation. They say faith without works is dead, so you’ve got to turn the flicker into a flame, you got to shift your jog into a sprint, enhance your sparkle into a shine, you’ve got to go into dark places and bring in the light, you got to smother words of denial and refutation and breathe life with words of declaration and affirmation. 


Negativity is a trick of the enemy; it’s used to get you in a space of endless hopelessness and defeat. The enemy is counting on you to give up and give in; to throw in the towel and accept defeat. Faith is a silent yet loud feeling of conviction in your gut and when you get in a place of disobedience and do not pursue whole heartedly the call upon your life, when your actions demonstrate disbelief in the vision there’s no way you can be left feeling satisfied with your current circumstance. What happens when you declare this is your season to bring everything you have set your sights on and you call it forth? When you recognize and acknowledge that you own, that’s right own, possess, harbor, contain the divine ability to call out the future; to strategize movements to arrive to your destination you become unstoppable. This can become your moment, day, month and year of destiny, to accomplish the things that have been promised to you. Having just the slightest bit of faith, that of a mustard seed will cause you to shift and activate; you will begin the metamorphosis. 2 Corinthians 4:13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore we also speak.


Your natural eyes tell the story of what is going on in the moment, they reveal all of the intricate details like the color and hint at the texture of everything around you. Your natural vision is also accompanied by your brain that is working in overtime processing messages of what your eyesight is capturing. There are people who have eyesight yet they lack vision. Vision to see beyond their natural sight. Is it possible to have faith if you lack vision? Blind people have the ability to see things in their mind based off the sound, the vibration, the smell and the feeling that is evoked by the experience. Having suffered temporary blindness, I can absolutely confirm that lacking physical sight heightened my other senses and caused me to rely upon them and my imagination. No matter what things physically looked liked, in my memory I had to exercise patience for the vision of the present. I had to trust that my senses were transmitting truth to my being, that if things smelled and felt pleasurable that surely they were prepared in a manner pleasurable to my sight and would be tasteful to my palate. Matthew 9:29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, "It shall be done to you according to your faith."


I’d like to demonstrate how I’ve activated faith in my life. So please allow me to take you on a journey. Go to a dark room or use a blindfold so you can block outside images that may permeate your eyelids during this exercise. Ensure the room is also quiet, as you want to be able to hear without distraction. Focus in on how you feel. What’s your breathing like? Are your muscles tense? If so, take a few deep breaths and focus on releasing the tense feeling. 

Now close your eyes with the intention of entering a season of enlarged territory, a place where you have access to people and things you’ve not had before.  Everyone and everything you encounter brings you joy; they bring a sense of calm, high levels of peace. Sit with this vision for a few minutes. What do you hear? Who is speaking to you? How does the voice make you feel from the inside? The things that you hear are likely going to be so amazing that you are instantly going to doubt that you deserve any of it or that you can even attain it. I need you to understand that you have the power to cease all negativity and can stay in the space of positivity. Begin to pray and meditate on Romans 4:17, recognizing the demonstration of Faith is having the ability to call those things that are not as though they are. 


This exercise can be so intense that may suddenly find yourself speaking out loud declaring what you hear on the inside; you may even speak a language foreign to your ear. Do not be afraid or startled. This is your higher self manifesting and confirming your future. Jude 1:20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Congratulations you have set the atmosphere to bring forth your hearts desires! This is your evidence…your natural ear has now heard and as you open your eyes, do so with the confidence and get to work. SEE FAITH, SPEAK FAITH, BELIEVE FAITH, and PURSUE FAITH.

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"Collided", By Cheyenna Sosa

It was a warm chilled day for the 4th of July. I was sitting outside waiting for my friend to come pick me up. Her and her cuzn came pulling up. We drove to her house back in Knoxville, then she had a couple friends that were older than me come over and hang out. They had brought beer, as all that I seen. About 4 hours have passed, I told her I was ready to go out to the lake with my family because I didn’t want to be around that anymore. Her cuzin had only one beer that whole time so I thought it was okay for him to give me a ride. Then he had to stop at his house first so I said okay. I was sitting in the back behind the driver side my friend was in the passenger side up front. Well he started going pretty fast around 90 mph and it started to scare me and he wouldn’t slow down, all of a sudden I wake up and can’t barely breathe or move the whole ride side, it hurt so bad to! The air that I could breathe tho smelled like burnt rubber and gas. I sit up and open my eyes my right arm is hanging out the passenger back seat window. I had realized we had crashed and I flew from the driver side to the passenger side, but I didn’t know how because I had my seat belt on. 


The seat belt was snapped in half from the force of the crash. Then a paramedic person pulled me out the car and I looked back my friends cuzn was getting arrested and the car was split in half and the whole front smashed in. If the electric pole was an inch or two closer we would have all have been dead. Then I have arrived at the hospital my mom was there crying with a cop. She told me he had questions to ask me. He had asked me if I knew who had cocaine at my friend’s house. I didn’t even know there was that there. Then he said the driver had said he did a 3 inch line of cocaine, and I started to cry. The doctor came in and told me, my mom, and the cop I had fractured my right side and a bad concussion.  So I stayed in the hospital. The cop pressed charges for me and my friend’s cuzn was sentence to 3 months in jail and 4000 dollar fine. From that day on I’ve never got into a car with someone I didn’t know or even had one drink!


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"I Remember", By Justice Smith

I remember waking up and going through my morning routine. 

I remember walking across campus to visit my professor. 

I remember my professor said, "Did you hear, there was a terrible accident.  A plane flew into one of the twin towers". 

I remember walking back to my apartment, not giving it that much thought. 

I remember turning on the television and finding that another plane had hit the twin towers. I remember thinking, "This was no accident". 

I remember being glued to the TV and hearing about a plane hitting the Pentagon. 

I remember hearing yet another plane had crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside. 

I remember with horrific awe the sight of the first one, and then the second tower as they fell. 

I remember the look of shock, fear, anger, and grief on the faces of those I met that day. 

I remember seeing news footage from around the world as many people mourned with us. 

I remember seeing footage from the streets of Pakistan as people danced and cheered at the news. 

I remember a country that came together in the face of adversity. 

I remember people saying that they would never forget. 

I remember that time passed and people's spirits began to heal. 

I remember that the pettiness of our disparate ideologies began to creep back in. 

I remember watching the news and hearing words like "partisan" on a daily basis. 


I remember when "I" became "We", and I see that "We" has again become "I".


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