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Author Archives: SpiritualHardCandy

About SpiritualHardCandy

My name is Nathan Allen aka "Nations" and I am a poet, novelist, spoken word artist, minister and author of Expressions from a Contrite Heart. I hope you enjoy this blog as I plan to focus moreso on issues from a Christ-centered perspective. However, I admit that I do like controversy and even just talking about the human experience. Oh, and I do have a silly side. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are living life abundantly!

Requesting Your Fervent Healing Prayers

I want to take some time to tell you about the man I know as my father: Jimm Snoddy. He is a husband, father, friend, musician, singer, engineer(retired) and faithful man of God. His positive outlook on life and his winning attitude are a large part of the reason he is still here, along with his faith in God. Back in 2008, he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which is a form of bone cancer. He has undergone multiple surgeries, several medical procedures and was once paralyzed from the waist down. After all of the hard work, endurance and FAITH on his part, he regained his ability to walk again and has experienced healing in his body on many different levels. His body has been through so much!!! Our family has walked this path with him and more importantly, Jesus Christ has been with us every step of the way. My mother, Valerie Snoddy, has been his primary caretaker and the ultimate wife that any man could ever ask for. She deserves so much for all that she has had to endure! At one time she feared that their music ministry was over… But God…

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So why am I telling you all this? Well, I am asking for your prayers. The cancer appears to have returned with a vengeance and he is experiencing much pain. He currently has lesions(internal) on his ribs and even his head. He has several cracked ribs and his left arm is fractured. Within a couple of weeks, he will begin bone hardening treatment and radiation/chemo. Right now, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially since I’m still grieving the loss of my grandfather who passed just before New Year’s. My mother is obviously overwhelmed at this point but is holding on. I am believing for a miracle and I pray that this situation will be just another victorious testimony about the healing power of God. I know that He is able, but I admit that keeping my emotions in check is a bit of a challenge right now. Please pray for me and my family as we continue on this journey.

Blessings to you all.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Spirituality

 

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Christians Don’t Support Christian Movies

Over the years I have rolled my eyes time and time again at Christian cinema. I paid attention to the obvious budget constraints that tainted the overall quality of the final product and made my critiques, taking in the popular belief that Christian movies are LAME. They are usually characterized as “B” movies and are characterized as having lame story lines, bad acting and lacking overall in the other qualities that mainstream movies possess. They became and still are somewhat of a laughing stock amongst pop culture, and myself and many other believers have mocked and scoffed at these movies. Hardly any of them made it to the big screen and usually you would see them at your local Blockbuster for rent; at that time.

Since then, more Christian movies began to make it to the big screen and this select few had more money to back them. Obviously, “The Passion of the Christ” is the biggest Christian movie of all time in terms of the money it made and the media attention it received around the world. A few other notable movies have also hit the big screen since then and some even managed to grab one of the top spots during their first weeks of release.  Unfortunately, these movies have been few and far between. You can count of the number of them on one hand. However, Christian movies as a whole still don’t do well in the box office and typically go straight to DVD. They are usually found in Christian bookstores and make little profit, if any.

So what is the issue? Well, a friend and co-host of mine for an Internet radio show we do had an experience that answers this question no holds barred. He is the youth and young adult pastor at his church, and not too long ago, he tried to take his group to see the movie “Grace Unplugged.” The movie had been released just a week prior but when they got to the theatre, they were shocked to see that the movie had already been pulled due to lack of sales. Obviously for them to pull a movie after one week means that it did HORRENDOUSLY. He spoke with the manager of the theatre and the man told him the ugly, unadulterated truth: Christians don’t support Christian movies. From what my friend said, he wasn’t even sure if this man was a believer in Jesus Christ. So for this statement to possibly come from the outside is really, really sad… My co-host told this story during one of our radio broadcasts.

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On this same broadcast, we were interviewing a lady who operates a local inspirational magazine. This issue of Christian movies came up, and I was once again being critical and cynical of them during the show. However, this lady said something so simple, yet so true. She stated that Christians need to support these movies, especially the ones that make it to the big screen. If these movies can generate the money that these film companies need, Christian movies can begin to improve due to more money and resources. Doesn’t that make sense? After all, the most important factor in these movies is the MESSAGE, is it not? The execution may not be totally on par, but can we seek the message and choose ministry over mindless entertainment? If the body of Christ would choose to support more Christian movies instead of flocking to see everything else that the world sees, it would cause Hollywood to take notice. In other words, it sounds like we need to sacrifice in the area of entertainment so that there are better options available to us to enjoy wholesome, godly movies. God can use any medium to draw people into the Kingdom through His spirit. Just imagine for a second if Christian movie makers had more capital and also allowed God to strengthen their creativity. The result could be MAGNIFICENT! Imagine the ministry that could go forth in movie theatres across this nation! The possibilities would be endless if the body would commit to supporting these movies and died to more worldly entertainment! Anything is possible!

So recently, when I saw the trailer for “I’m in Love with a Church Girl,” I shook my head and rolled my eyes. (Yeah I know… sigh) It looked boring and predictable, and I was agitated at what I considered to be a lack of originality and creativity. However, this movie may be good and I will support it as soon as it hits Redbox and DVD. I’ve somewhat been a part of the problem and not the solution, so the buck stops here with me. We have to start somewhere. If we want things to change, we have to make our voices heard and that is through our support. We must also take personal inventory of the types of movies that we allow to flood our eye gates and ear gates. As disciples of Jesus Christ, there are obviously certain types of movies that we shouldn’t be watching, but the fruit speaks for itself. The fact is that too many self-professing Christians who will pass up Christian movies to be entertained by the world system. In fact, I believe that entertainment is an excellent tool of distraction that the enemy likes to use to keep the people of God focused on the things of this world instead of Him. If we are not careful, our beliefs and values can be tainted by television and the movies that we watch. The enemy’s tactics are often subtle, and this is a perfect example. Too much entertainment is one of the reasons why Christianity in this country is so weak and watered down that it’s not even funny. Let’s stop giving Babylon our money and start INVESTING in Kingdom movies. Yes, it is an investment that could pay the dividends of more quality, ministry-drenched, creative Christian movies in the future.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2014

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Spirituality

 

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“Super Saints”

There are people in the body of Christ who are very serious about developing the character of Christ and who live consecrated lives.  These individuals have conquered much of the sin issues in their lives and have an anointing that they carry because of their obedience to the Father.  Favor follows them and they seem to change the atmosphere everywhere they go.  These kinds of people are rare and unfortunately subject to criticisms from fellow believers in Christ.  They are usually accused of trying to be superior to others, all because they value holiness and have a sincere reverence of the lord.  These individuals live differently than almost everyone around them and people are sometimes naturally convicted of their sin when they interact with them.  These individuals exhibit the love of Christ and go out of their way to respect others but again, people respond to these individuals out of their hurt and brokenness.  These individuals are wrongly accused of elevating themselves above others.  However, these individuals are NOT to whom the following open letter is addressed.  I have been compelled to proclaim a message to the “super saints.”  These are those who only resemble the people I just described, however, they lack humility and are part of the reason why people outside of the faith have distorted views of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  So with that being said…

Dear Super Saint,

It is admirable that you know the scriptures backwards and forwards, and I see that you are well-meaning in your proclaiming of the gospel.  You admonish those around you to be doers and not just hearers of the Word of God.  You are sold out for the cause of Christ and the church desperately needs people like you to be an example to others during these end times, but I notice that people tend to avoid you instead of being drawn to you.  Your ministry isn’t really growing or flourishing and people often feel belittled (not convicted) when they encounter you.  Now I will let you know that it is NOT the “Christ in you” or your “righteousness” that is pushing people away.  It’s simply you…

You have an OBSESSION with being right and have issues with anyone who doesn’t support your theology one hundred percent.  You communicate with people in a way that somewhat devalues them and so their experience with you is rarely ever pleasant.   What I sincerely want you to see is that you can know the Word of God like the back of your hand, yet still fail to love people the way God intended.  Whether you realize it or not, many have actually been DISCOURAGED by you in their walk with the lord instead of encouraged.  Your words have ripped people to shreds but then when people lash out at you or simply cut you off, you believe that you’re being persecuted.  I’m sorry beloved, but this is not true.  You see yourself as a “martyr” of sorts and believe that people avoiding you is somehow evidence of the anointing on your life.  You believe that people not liking you means that you’re on the right path and you often use “being a part of the true remnant” as an excuse.  You carry an aura that says “I’m the only one who is really saved,” and trust me; it stinks like rotten eggs.  I know because I have been to ministries and been around people who operate in that kind of spirit.  They don’t seem to understand that they are a detriment to the body of Christ and not a blessing.  Or other times you have compared yourself to the biblical prophets as a justification to being unpleasant towards others.  I don’t believe the prophets were intentionally nasty to people, they just stood for the truth and people wanted to stay in their wickedness.

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So beloved, please know that I am praying for you, whether or not you heed this message.  Understand that the love of the Father doesn’t manifest in the ways in which you act out.  Yes He does chastise and correct, but He does not belittle and demean.  You have become somewhat of a “spiritual bully,” when you could really be a wonderful encouragement to those around you, and I’m not talking about your friends or faithful followers (if you’re a pastor).  I believe what is really going on with you is a heart issue.  There are some serious wounds that are embedded deep in your heart and they manifest in the behaviors that I have described.  Spiritual pride is just as bad as all the other forms of pride and in some cases probably worse.  Please take a serious inventory of yourself and ask yourself the hard questions.  What is the real reason why I start debates concerning scripture?  Do I have to win every argument or debate?  Why do I always focus on what is wrong with others instead of their strengths?  These are just a few examples.  Please hear these words with an open heart and know that you are needed for such a time as this.  Get healed.  Repent.  Apologize to those whom you have hurt.  Be humble.  Then take your rightful place in the body and be the blessing you were ordained to be.

Sincerely,

The Brethren

 

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Rich in Spirit

Luke 6:20 Then He lifted up His eyes toward His disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you poor,
For yours is the kingdom of God. (NKJV)

New life was breathed into this scripture as I and the rest of the mission team walked the dirt roads of a village/town community outside of Managua, Nicaragua. A couple who started a missionary ministry called Lifelink International established a school for children in preschool to third grade in this community. I have heard about poverty in developing countries and have seen all kinds of images in the media for most of my life, only now it was real. The hot sun beamed down as I gazed at homes that were the size of a large bedroom that housed entire families. My heart became sensitive as I saw young mothers holding babies in places that here in this country we would consider filthy. Normally, I would expect people to frown and not be inviting or accepting to outsiders in these types of conditions. However, most of the people we encountered smiled and were very courteous. A couple of families even invited us into their homes, completely void of any shame. This was almost mind-boggling to me because I would likely be embarrassed to live in those types of conditions and wouldn’t want anyone I didn’t know personally in my space. But then I realized that this was mainly because I have grown up in a “developed nation” where everything is convenient and the standard of living is much higher. In this country, even those who live in what is considered to be poverty would be filthy rich compared to the large majority of people living in Nicaragua. In the U.S., we have so many options and opportunities. We can compare our situations to many others from all walks of life socioeconomically. In countries like Nicaragua, the people don’t really have the concept of poverty because it is simply their way of life. It is the norm and they don’t have much in which to compare their situations. They are only poor from a materialistic perspective, but they are filthy rich in spirit.

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My heart went out to the people as I toured their homes. I walked on their dirt floors and gazed up at the tin roofs. I marveled at the outside cement holes that served as the toilets and the make-shift outside stalls with garden hoses to provide the water for showering or washing up. The beds were about equivalent to the ones that are in jails and prisons. Some of them even had cardboard stacked up in place of where a thin mattress would normally be. There were some overhead power lines that these homes would tap off of to provide electricity for their outdated TVs and small stoves. As I walked around one of the homes, I sweated like a pig because there was obviously no air conditioning and it had to have been almost one hundred degrees inside. The lady of the home just smiled and held her newborn baby. She smiled just like all the precious little faces at the school did. These little ones do not know the concept of poverty and are able to smile and laugh in the midst of situations that would drive most of us into depression, crime and a victim mentality. These resilient kids anticipate each day of school as an adventure and express a genuine excitement. Amazing how people living in what is considered extreme poverty can smile and love life, yet those of us who seemingly have everything will complain over a minute form of adversity. So as my heart went out to them, maybe their hearts should have went out to me… They have more faith than I do yet they live in conditions that would make me question the God I believe in. Wow… One of the highlights for me as we walked through the town was playing with some little boys who were chasing these gigantic cockroaches in the road. In this country that would be considered nasty. In this country our kids need electronic devices to grab their attention instead of doing things like chasing giant bugs lol.

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The average Nicaraguan makes approximately the equivalent of $2 per day. Another statistic I heard my pastor mention one time during one of his sermons that was people who make $50,000 or more per year are in the top 1% wealthiest in the entire world. Individuals making $25,000 per year are in the top 10% in the world. As startling as these statistics might be, for most us in this country they don’t hold that much weight. Our quality of life is judged by whether or not we can afford an I-Phone or I-Pad. So spiritually speaking, I can see why Christians in other nations have more testimonies about miracles and supernatural occurrences. God is all they have. They don’t have technology and money to get the glory instead of the Lord. Without all of the distractions they are able to enjoy more deeper and intimate relationships with God. They are able to witness His power at work in their lives and those around them on a constant basis, in a more tangible way. They are RICH in spirit. Spiritually, it is almost like they have an advantage over us because they are more able to give Him unhindered praise. I’m not saying this necessarily for the sake of comparison; I’m simply trying to show us how convenience and materialism can keep us from really experiencing the Kingdom of God in a much greater way. They can also hinder our true reverence of Him, which again will keep us from seeing the miracles of each day. What I think is really sad is that the fact that generally speaking, Christians who live in developing countries have way more faith and belief than us in North America. While I agree that people in developing countries may need our resources and more opportunities, they don’t need to become like us. They may be “last” for now, but they will be FIRST in the next life.

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Matthew 19:23-24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (NKJV)

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Spirituality

 

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A Beautiful Death

The fall has always been one of my favorite seasons of the year besides the summer. I like the way that the weather cools and the wardrobe change from shorts, tank tops and sandals to pants, long sleeve shirts, jackets and shoes. However, what I like the most about fall is probably the colors. Some of the most beautiful landscapes ever captured in a photo have been adorned with shades of yellow, orange, red and brown. Funny thing is that when I was a child the only thing I liked about the fall was Halloween because I was a candy fanatic. What I didn’t like was that I had the chore of raking up the leaves in the yard; definitely not fun for a nine and ten year old at the time.
But I would like to stay on the subject of the leaves. Every fall the leaves change colors creating their own artwork before they eventually fall off the tree. In other words, the process of them literally dying is visually spectacular. It’s a beautiful death. Well, I believe the same is true for us when we die to ourselves in order to become Christ-like. There is a scripture in the Bible that states He will give us beauty for ashes, and I believe that leaves changing colors before they die is a perfect representation of this truth.

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Without the dying process, we will never develop the character of Christ nor will we ever complete the individual purpose that He has assigned to each us. There is in fact a beauty in dying to self. There is something about humility and lowliness that Father God finds to be irresistible. There is a spiritual beauty that radiates from those who learn to love others more than themselves. Something magnificent seems to permeate the aura of those who are living for a purpose much greater than themselves. People who flee from self preservation are infectious and even alluring in a non-erotic way. They recognize that their lives are truly not their own because they have put all of their trust in the Father. They are a magnet because there is a hidden beauty that comes into view when people are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice because they can see the full panoramic view of destiny. This is a spiritual harvest of the highest order!

Dead leaves fall beautifully and decorate the ground, but then they decompose and make the soil more fertile. Once the spring comes along, the trees grow vibrant green leaves with the aid of new sunlight and rain. Plants, flowers and crops reveal themselves as new life coming from the old. It takes a death for new life to spring forth. I think about the times when someone’s death helped preserved the life of others. Sometimes it might have been organ donation to save someone’s life in the natural. Even more wonderful, it can be the death of someone who was sold out to the cause of Christ who made a lasting impact on those who are still living. Their lives ultimately either inspired others to come to a higher level spiritually or inspired them to commit their lives to Christ for the first time. These individuals are those colorful leaves that decorate the ground, preparing it for the next harvest…

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Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 
 

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