I am pleased to reveal the book cover my premier novel in the Shiloh Saga series of stories.
SANCTUARY introduces newly retired publishing executive, Theo Phillips, and his wife, Liddy, to the time-lost South Georgia town of Shiloh. They leave the shadows of Atlanta and move into a quaint home of notoriety. While making new friends, they discover twenty-first-century challenges threaten the town’s laid-back lifestyle. Theo’s interest in a memorial launches him into investigating tragic events that have left Shiloh unsettled. Theo and Liddy’s retirement dreams take a turn that could unravel both them and the idyllic life they and many others look for in Shiloh.
Thanks for all your support and encouragement as I have transformed my devotional thoughts into true-to-life situations that my characters in Shiloh face. My Facebook author page offers constant updates anticipating the book’s release on April 4th, and then news about the sequel, Testament, due out this fall.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these, he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4
When we walk in harmony within ourselves, uncluttered, we will be freed to comprehend the divinely important things in life without effort, because we will receive understanding from God. Likewise, pursuing knowledge of ourselves provides the surest way to know God, as opposed to solely trusting in intellectual or academic expositions written by the wisdom of man.
God created us in the image of himself. What would it serve to consult with another image of God? Have we not a unique knowledge of our creator within each of us? Our quest to know and connect with God begins with understanding ourselves.
How can we confidently grasp what we need for life and godliness? Doesn’t the study of God’s will, ways, and wisdom contained within our particular translation of the Bible point out the futility of our efforts to try and understand the unfathomable thoughts and ways of God? However, when we accept that reality and humble ourselves, then God presents the benefit of knowing him and his godly wisdom through his whispers within our heart. From our creation, his spirit has resided within us making available to us everything we need to hear and understand. In truth, God enjoys revealing his truth to all his children, especially those who seek him with the uncluttered innocence of a child; whose soul, heart and mind are far more receptive to listening and learning about God’s will, ways, and wisdom to guide their lives. For this reason, our Heavenly Father always rejoices and smiles upon us as his children, no matter our age in life.
For those who believe we can learn about God through worldly sources and understanding, how can anyone believe that the created can know the mind of the creator? Thus, our only hope is to freely surrender our souls, hearts, and minds to the author of all knowledge and understanding. We need to trust that God’s Spirit will guide us in the thoughts and knowledge that we need to know so that we will know him for who he truly is, our Heavenly Father.
Learning for the sake of learning about worldly matters is good, but when it comes to eternal, divine, heavenly understanding and wisdom seek the author and creator directly. He alone knows best what we need to understand and to pursue in this world, so that we may enjoy this life and the life to come.
My prayer today: Heavenly Father, there remains much that I wish to learn and know about you, but I do trust by faith that your Spirit will share all that I need to know if only I will quiet the clutter and distractions in my life and just continue to listen intently to your whispers. Please allow my soul, heart, and mind to heed what I need to know and to apply to my life. May I strive daily to be worthy of humbly pursuing your will, ways, and wisdom. May I never tire of wanting to share my thirst for you with my family. May I likewise inspire others to seek a closer walk with you, my Lord and Savior so they too may discover the life-giving truth you make available to each of us. Thank you, my God and Savior. Amen
For additional reading: Deut 30:17; Isa 44:1-2; 45:9,18; 24-25; Pro 3:5-7; 13-18; 8:35; Ps 112:1-2; 128:1; Matt 16:26; John 1:18; 4:23; 2 Tim 2:15; 2 Co 3:6
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Sign up at https://coachbrownorg.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/shiloh-1-identifies-the-mayors-truck/ or https://www.facebook.com/TMBrownauthor/ and receive updates on the March release of my premier Southern Fiction mystery, Sanctuary, published by Deeds Publishing, Athens, GA. The sequel, Testament, fall 2017.
All Southern Fiction offers vivid word imagery that bring its colorful characters and time-lost settings to life in the mind’s eye of the reader. Sanctuary is no exception. Preview readers have asked where is Shiloh? Are the characters based on real people?
In addition to the Teacher being a wise man, he constantly taught the people knowledge; he weighed, explored, and arranged many proverbs. The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. The sayings of the wise are like goads, and those from masters of collections are like firmly embedded nails. The sayings are given by one Shepherd. But beyond these, my son, be warned: there is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body. When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this [is for] all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil. Eccl 12:9-14 (HCSB)
Why do so many people desire to read a myriad of motivational books? Why do so many people pursue a regiment of religious writings for encouragement in their lives? What benefit is there in reading all that has been written based on various proverbs, parables, and other renown passages of wisdom? Will an end ever come to man’s attempts to expound upon, interpret, and translate all the ancient writings regarding God’s relationship with humanity?
Why do I write what I believe God has inspired me to share? Well, simply put, because, just maybe, someone else needs to hear the same message that God has placed upon my heart. Besides, I have discovered over the past decade, or so, writing and sharing my systematic Bible-based expositions, I have benefited the most! As I prayerfully pondered each passage and wrote, and often re-wrote, a relevant message, I grew closer to God. The feedback I have received has also provided affirmation and encouragement to my ongoing regiment. However, the greatest blessing has been a feeling of God’s smiling approval every so often.
Am I wise? Certainly not! There are far more knowledgeable people that have crossed my path. Am I a good teacher? Not as good as I desire to be. There are far better educators that I have met in my life. So what validation can I offer for what I have shared all these years with family, friends, and those I may never meet? The only validation that matters at theend is GOD’s inspiration and confirmation that someone might receive after reading what I have written.
Is what I have written new and unique? No! There is nothing new under the sun, as the Teacher in Ecclesiastes shared. What I merely tried to do is translate the wisdom I found in each passage into a real and relevant application for our present life circumstances. So that we all may live in a better relationship with others, in a manner pleasing to God, and reflects God’s will, ways, and wisdom.
Beyond our full and fast paced lives, at the end of all things, the wisest thing we can hope to know is that God waits patiently for us. All our actions, attitudes, and thoughts, whether spoken and written, will record how we lived our life before God.
What will be your record say about you when you stand before God? What relationships can you claim earned God’s smile?
I pray what I have been able to share with you has helped you to reflect more on your life and with all your relationships and most importantly with God as your daily guide.
So remember your Creator in the days of your youth: Before the days of adversity come, and the years approach when you will say, “I have no delight in them”; before the sun and the light are darkened, and the moon and the stars, and the clouds return after the rain; on the day when the guardians of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, the women who grind cease because they are few, and the ones who watch through the windows see dimly, and the doors at the street are shut while the sound of the mill fades; when one rises at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song grow faint. Also, they are afraid of heights and dangers on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper loses its spring, and the caper berry has no effect; for man is headed to his eternal home, and mourners will walk around in the street; before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the jar is shattered at the spring, and the wheel is broken into the well; and the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. “Absolute futility,” says the Teacher. “Everything is futile.” Eccl 12:1-8 (HCSB)
Most decisions about one’s relationship with God originate during one’s childhood, before the age of accountability. An innocent time before a child leaves the safety and security of their home. This fact impacted me many years ago but also continues to serve as a primary motivation for my desire to teach and write at my stage of life.
The Bible offers a strong emphasis on the proper rearing of our children. Parents have a divine mandate passed down through the ages, generation to generation, to teach their children about God. Beyond the setting of the home, parents expose their children to a church’s children or youth ministry, even though the parents may not even attend that church?
I am not declaring that everyone who has received the biblical message taught in the church will ultimately live out all the teachings they received, all the time. Each of us must travel through various stages during our life-long journey with God. Many, if not most, mature their faith as they grow beyond mere blind acceptance to a maturing, questioning of what and why we believe about God. However, each of us experiences a desire to connect with our Creator. Hopefully, we receive our initial introduction to God during our formable youth, long before the stresses of life have choked most of our receptivity to God away from us!
It is also a fact, most teenagers, especially after they leave the house, will wander testing their abilities and understandings about life for an extended period as young adults. Many will listen to others question God’s reality and existence, and hear differing opinions about the authenticity of the biblical writings in academic circles. Freedom of thought and self-understanding are important stages in each person’s life. I believe, God allows us to challenge our faith.
For those who received a solid grounding during their youth about God, the challenges in life will draw them closer to God again, with a stronger relevant understanding and conviction than ever before. I believe, the parable of the prodigal son reveals this to be true. You see, people in pursuit of all the options life affords them, sooner or later, come to the reality that no acceptable option exists beyond our faith in God. Some may try to live in denial of God, but even in fighting against the reality of God one struggles with the origin of God’s gifts in their life.
There is no greater, more unequivocal evidence regarding God’s existence than the fact people around the world believe in God. Even scientists, doctors, engineers, architects, and philosophers admit their journeys of discovery almost always conclude with them staring at God for the answers they seek about life. From a worldview, all the religions found across our planet may never fully agree about God, but they all exist because of man’s desire to connect with and understand God.
Why is this so important? In life, times of trials and tribulation will happen that will be beyond our abilities to cope and survive. They will cause each of us to acknowledge we cannot make it without our faith in God. God allows such formidable challenges to nurture our faith in God as we grow older with God. Yes, our life-long journey with God may falter from time-to-time, but, sooner or later, most all of us return to seeking out God’s will, ways, and wisdom as the cornerstone of our life. God enjoys receiving each person who realizes that life without God risks an end whereby the laughter of children fades, the colors of the seasons fail to change, the clouds become swallowed by darkness, and the wind offers no relief at our last gasp of breath. What happens next rests with God…
Darkness, by definition, is the absence of light. Absolute darkness leaves you without any reference points to stumble and bumble your way around. In the darkness, fear reigns supreme. We fear what the next step will bring. What future hope does a destination hold that we cannot identify? In the darkest days of our lives, despair, desolation, and desperation have dominion. However, even in the darkest days, God provides sufficient light to find our way. His love is so great that even when we try to hide in the darkest abyss, he reveals his light.
Any fear we hold of the light is because of the truth it may expose about our lives. Light is the truth, and though the truth may set you free, it also highlights the shortfalls and flaws of our life.
In God’s presence, there resides pure light. Thus no darkness exists. Thus every person is at dire risk when we stand exposed to the “Shekinah” glory of God – the perfect light emanating from God’s presence.
Light not only reveals, but it also purifies all that is not as pure as the light. Humanity must be exposed to the light progressively to expose and to be cleansed to leave the darkness totally behind.
It is our memory of the dark days that draws us to the light! Hope, faith, and love abound in the light, whereas fear, despair, desolation, and desperation are left behind as we walk away from the darkness of our past into the newness of the light. From out of the shadows, we leave behind isolation and separation and discover a desire for fellowship in our lives. In the light, we can always focus clearly on any number of destinations which will make us better. We will find along our journey in the light; our present outshines our past. We discover the truth that light reveals, and we thus become “wiser” with each step we take. When we leave behind even the memories of our dark days and seek after the light, we cherish our younger, more innocent days all the more as we enter into the prime of our life.
One final thought, once we have understood the value of the light, we are to share God’s gift with others. We have become God’s chosen harbingers of the truth of his light to others still residing in the shadows. We should not forget, by the light passed on by others we found our way out from the darkness. The light never to be hoarded as if it is ours exclusively. We have been given the light as a gift to share, and it will never be exhausted by sharing it with others.