Summer is upon us…What will you be reading?

Past tragedies often leave lingering, unresolved questions before healing can come.
Grappling with providential encounters often require lonely strolls with our soul…
this summer, Whether holding a Kindle version or the book, Sanctuary will draw your imagination to enter the time-lost, South Georgia town of Shiloh and walk alongside newcomers Theo and Liddy Phillips seeking solely to retire near their country roots. But, God reveals other plans for them before they can kick back and relax on their porch. god uses Happenstance as the harbinger of past secrets, surfacing in the present through unexpected providential encounters.
This is the crux of why Sanctuary has become a must read for “all audiences” this summer.

Visit T. M. Brown’s Author Facebook Page to learn more, check out the reviews, or to purchase your copy for your upcoming summer vacation.

Reading and roasting on the beach go hand-in-hand.
Great endorsement from Southern Writers Magazine

Have You Seen the Latest Reviews?

Have you grabbed your copy? Available in more and more retail locations.

New reviews of Sanctuary to share:

From Tim Riordan pastor at Sonrise Baptist Church in Newnan, GA.

Enjoyable Southern Fiction

Every town has its secrets, and Shiloh is no exception. When Theo Phillips decided to finally retire from the publishing business, he and his wife, Liddy, moved to South Georgia to what they thought would be a sleepy little town: Shiloh. It was probably both the empty charming home that they purchased and remodeled and Theo’s part-time job at the local newspaper that got the couple involved in the mystery of the courthouse fire. You’ll enjoy experiencing the life of a southern town and getting to know all of the interesting people of Shiloh through T. M. Brown’s novel, “Sanctuary.” I enjoyed the story and found myself being drawn into the drama. Brown does a great job presenting his believable characters and helping the reader to experience the flowing story of mystery, struggle, hope, and healing.

From Randy Gravitt, InteGREAT Leadership.

T.M. Brown’s Sanctuary drips with southern charm. The story of the small town of Shiloh is both interesting and compelling. Its citizens have anguished enough and it’s time for the truth to come out. Thanks to the town’s newest citizens and the author’s character driven story all is revealed. If you’re looking for a good read, this is your book! – Randy Gravitt, CEO of InteGREAT Leadership and author of UNSTUCK

From Kelly Potts, Interviews and Reviews

“Sanctuary” by T.M Brown is one of the best Christian mystery novels I have read in a very long time. There is significance in the name of the little southern town where retired Theo and Liddy Philips move to – Shiloh. The reader very quickly senses that the Philips’ have moved to the most perfect small town U.S.A. but there is a realization that things are not as they seem. The seemingly perfect little town of Shiloh and its residents are in dire need of redemption and forgiveness and Theo and Liddy are the perfect couple to put things in motion.

T.M. Brown takes his time unraveling the complicated storyline and developing the wonderfully memorable characters. Probably my only complaint about this novel is that there are just too many characters. I had trouble keeping them all straight at times.

Great endorsement from Southern Writers Magazine

Visit my Amazon Author Page to discover other great reviews and then select either the eBook (Kindle) or paperback copy to suit your reading pleasure.

My best reviews are from people just like you! Visit your local independent bookstore and ask for your copy of Sanctuary? Then, contact me with your own review that you’d be willing to share with friends and family members.

A gripping Southern Mystery for all audiences!

What Book Will You Bring on Vacation With You?

Is reading and roasting on the beach p.art of your vacation plans this summer?

Have you ordered your upcoming vacation novel? Check out all the rave reviews and you’ll be enticed to get your paperback or ebook copy of Sanctuary.

Available online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold! Please support your local independent bookstore. They’re the gatekeepers for the best of the latest releases because they care the most about you, their customers.

Here are the latest reviews that reveal Sanctuary is, without a doubt, a gripping mystery written for “all audiences.”

http://www.interviewsandreviews.com/reviews/sanctuary

“Sanctuary” is one of the best Christian mystery novels I have read in a very long time….http://cozymysterybookreviews.blogspot.com

 

SANCTUARY BY TM BROWN

Summary:

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.

Review:

A novel by new author TM Brown

Theo and Liddy Phillips are newcomers to the nostalgic small town of Shiloh. Met with honest, relaxed warmth by most, this newly retired couple have arrived at just the right time. Mystery shrouds the town as the truth about a tragic fire sent a beloved coach to his death, and unsettled many. The strands of truth beg to be unraveled by Theo, a former journalist, and as he and his wife settle in, the story unwraps itself like a gift into their welcoming and compassionate lives.

Idyllic small town life and a bevy of believable and lovable characters left me wanting more as I finished the last chapter. Reading Sanctuary is like coming home to well-worn slippers and comfortable friends. A fantastic first novel by author and life coach TM Brown. I’m ready for the sequel.

  •    Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
  •    Release Date: February 1, 2017
  •     Launch Date: April 4, 2017
  •     ASIN: B01MUHGCWM
  •     ISBN: 978-1-944193-84-3

More reviews available on Amazon, GoodReads, and Barnes & Noble.

T. M. Brown, Author Page

Sanctuary’s Latest Review and Limited Time Offer

For book lovers of contemporary Southern mysteries, Sanctuary offers several excellent opportunities to get your own copy for your reading pleasure.

Another fantastic review received. And, if you are a Kindle Unlimited member you can get this memorable Southern mystery for free too! Of course, for those who still love to read and save the printed copy, it’s available by ordering online at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, or through your local bookstore by request if it already isn’t on the shelf.

For a limited time, you can order your signed copy of Sanctuary by contacting me if you are unable to visit me at one of my many book signing events throughout the South. Just comment leaving your contact information and I’ll send you a personalized, autographed copy postage free for $18.95.

Here’s another great reason to get your copy of SANCTUARY: Through May 18th, book sales benefit either Coweta Pregnancy Services in Newnan, GA or Harmony House Domestic Violence Shelter in Lagrange, GA. Once you read the book you’ll have a greater appreciation for why I desired to support these worthy, life-changing organizations.

Once you read your copy, please submit your review too! 

Sanctuary by T.M. Brown

Sanctuary by [Brown, T.M.]

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.  (Summary via Amazon)

[Sanctuary] is a story about a husband and wife, Theo and Liddy, who move to a small town and become a part of something greater than they ever could have imagined.  As soon as they arrive, they are drawn to a statue of a young man in the Town Square.  Curiosity and Theo’s journalistic background draw him to this statute and its background.  As soon as he learns there are unanswered questions regarding the statute, the old City Hall building and a group of kids they’ve met, Theo digs in to learn what he can.

Shiloh is a town you want to live in, you want to have neighbors like Theo and Liddy and you want to have friends just like they have.  In Shiloh everybody knows everything, people help others even if they are strangers, and there’s a calm throughout the town.

Theo and Liddy fit right in immediately.  They are soon involved in the church, Theo is going to write some articles for the local paper, and they even have Thanksgiving with the Mayor.  They are making friends fast and getting involved in everything but is it going to be too much?  As Theo digs into the fire that burned down the old City Hall building that killed Jesse, will the outcome spark new flames?

I LOVED Sanctuary by T, M. Brown and I highly encourage you to read it !!!  I am even going to help you out by providing you with a list of the characters.  As you will see with some of the names, you can become confused very quickly….. AND I don’t want that to prevent you from reading the AMAZING story……

Review by Missi S.

Have you grabbed your copy? In Newnan, GA it’s available at Corner Arts Gallery on the Square.
For more information about my book tour appearances or to contact me please go to https://www.facebook.com/TMBrownauthor/

Which Selfish Generation Threatens God’s Sanctuary?

 

 

in our own eyesWhich Selfish Generation Threatens God’s Sanctuary?

Don’t slander a servant to his master, or he will curse you, and you will become guilty. There is a generation that curses its father and does not bless its mother. There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, yet is not washed from its filth. There is a generation – how haughty its eyes and pretentious its looks. There is a generation whose teeth are swords, whose fangs are knives, devouring the oppressed from the land and the needy from among mankind. Prov 30:10-14 (HCSB)

Could we be our own worst enemy? Could our cancerous attitudes be devouring our nation and even God’s sanctuary?

God’s Word clearly speaks about the generation that is self-serving, self-centered, and self-focused! When will we ever learn that such a period in history always leads to self-destruction? The Roman Empire imploded upon itself until its millennia empire totally collapsed because its self-created malignant cancer consumed Rome’s very heart, mind, and soul. For this very reason, we should take a serious look at the state of our nation. Will we succumb to self-manifested cancer and fall like Rome? Let us not think we will fair any different than all the great empires that have risen and fallen before or since. 

The Bible records in explicit detail how the Israelites and Judahites lost their grand sanctuary city with its Temple in Jerusalem. And as if the remnant learned nothing, centuries later the pious Jews rebuilt their sanctuary city anchored with its new Temple, bigger and grander than before, but before a century passed after they crucified the Messiah, their cancerous behavior returned and their beloved sanctuary city along with its Temple was destroyed by the same Romans who centuries later would suffer the same fate to Rome, their sanctuary city. All because both the Jews and the Romans thought they were uniquely special, perfect in their own eyes.

We may be living in such a depraved generation when everyone’s focus is inward to their own wants and desires. Even avarice and gluttony fail to satisfy our own growing voracious cancer! No longer is there a sanctuary from our self. Yet, we feel we remain the envy of all other nations! Yes, we still have a lot to offer, but the people in our country have lost respect for the values that created our country. Patriotism, love for country, has been replaced by hedonism, the love of self.

Where have all the jobs gone that shaped the American Dream? Companies with their factories and warehouses once provided excellent, reliable and stable employment, but we have raised a generation no longer wanting to get their hands dirty. We believed that everyone needed and ultimately deserved a college education to share the American Dream. Unions demanded higher wages and more benefits until companies found it more profitable to go overseas so they could better compete in the growing world marketplace created by the greediness of the same people who wanted better prices to buy more things they felt they needed. Those same companies and their executives lusted for greater profits and eliminated more and more jobs while increasing their own lavish salaries. Greed feeds upon itself like cancer and the average hard working citizen in our country becomes the first victim and the American Dream evaporates.

History is plain. Unless we restore our country’s vision to the values that made us great, we will face the same results as other great nations before us. Our country needs desperately to return to seeking after God’s will, ways, and wisdom. It is time to look after one another again, rolling up our sleeves, willing to better prepare the next generation to carry the torch of the American Dream for the good of all, not on own selfish interests. We have forgotten the Golden Rule. Our focus needs to be upon caring about our neighbors, our communities, and our country ahead of ourselves. Then and only then will God then provide the kind of sanctuary that cannot be destroyed by man.

Coach

Heed the warning Jesus gave to the Pharisees and Scribes of Jerusalem: Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. But WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You lock up the kingdom of heaven from people. For you don’t go in, and you don’t allow those entering to go in. WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You devour widows’ houses and make long prayers just for show. [This is why you will receive a harsher punishment.] WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one  proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for  hell as you are! WOE to you, blind guides, who say, ˜Whoever takes an oath by the sanctuary, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by his oath.” Blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that sanctified the gold? Also, Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it means nothing. But whoever takes an oath by the gift that is on it is bound by his oath. Blind people! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore the one who takes an oath by the altar takes an oath by it and by everything on it. The one who takes an oath by the sanctuary takes an oath by it and by Him who dwells in it. And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God’s throne and by Him who sits on it. WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy, and faith. These things should have been done without neglecting the others. Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet gulp down a camel! WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence! Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup, so the outside of it may also become clean. WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every impurity. In the same way, on the outside, you seem righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. WOE to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, and you say, “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn’t have taken part with them in shedding the prophets’ blood.” You therefore testify against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ sins! Snakes! Brood of vipers! How can you escape being condemned to hell? This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and hound from town to town. So all the righteous blood shed on the earth will be charged to you, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.  I assure you: All these things will come on this generation! Matt 23:12-36 (HCSB)

What You Fear Causes You to Stumble

People will always throw stones onto your path. How you see them will change your life.
People will always throw stones onto your path. How you see them will change your life.

What You Fear Causes You to Stumble

For this is what the Lord said to me with great power, to keep me from going the way of this people: Do not call everything an alliance these people say is an alliance. Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. You are to regard only the Lord of Hosts as holy. Only He should be feared; only He should be held in awe. He will be a sanctuary; but for the two houses of Israel, He will be a stone to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Many will stumble over these; they will fall and be broken; they will be snared and captured. Bind up the testimony. Seal up the instruction among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob. I will wait for Him. Isaiah 8:11-17 (HCSB)

Is there a true sanctuary that removes your fears and offers hope? Fear is a natural response God created into each of us for our own good. Fear causes us to either stand our ground and fight with all our strength or to flee with all the stamina and speed we can muster. Self-preservation is at the root of our fears. Fear increases our adrenaline level to better cope with stressful and dangerous situations. However, there are times when we realize that our fear response is not enough to conquer or escape our fears and we seek help to manage our fears.

Mankind has relied upon alliances believing that when forces are combined you can better stand up to your fears. Sadly, we only learn misery loves company! Most alliances are temporary deterrents when dealing with our fears. Fears often cause you and your ally to turn on one another in the middle of the battle because in the end self-preservation overrides common preservation. Friends turn on friends when their own lives are at risk.

In this passage from Isaiah, The northern tribes of Israel believed an alliance with Aram (Syria) was sufficient to defeat their fears; Judah allied itself with a weakened Egypt. However, neither escaped the Assyrians and later the Chaldeans (Neo-Babylonians). Both neglected the small print in their covenant with God – the” if, then” clause that would have saved them from their fears.

God is the undefeated champion for his people. God sought Isaiah to warn those who claimed to be God’s people to start acting like his people and stop relying upon their own alliances. Those who resist the temptation to rely upon their own alliances and trust God discover genuine protection, preservation, and provision that arrests their fears and anxieties. (Checkout Matthew 6:33) All the Lord requires: trust him and stop trying to deal with the fears that threaten our lives daily on your own. God declares that our fears can become stumbling stones or stepping stones.

There is only one genuine “fear” that every person faces that is common to all mankind – the fear of death. The choice is whether we will choose to make that fear a stumbling stone or stepping stone in our relationship with God. Fact: no earthly alliance can defeat the fear of death.

Oh, how history would have been changed if Israel and Judah repented and returned to the Lord as His people? How about your own history? How will you be remembered? Will your life encourage or discourage the next generation about the fears of this life?

Coach

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (necessities of life to overcome our fears and anxieties) will be provided for you. Matthew 6:33

The Value of a Sanctuary Rests at the End of the Story

Jersualem walls
The remains of what Jerusalem believed was the walls of their sanctuary status.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Value of a Sanctuary Rests at the End of the Story!

“In a surge of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but I will have compassion on you with an everlasting love,” says the LORD your Redeemer. “For this is like the days of Noah to Me: when I swore that the waters of Noah would never flood the earth again, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you or rebuke you. Though the mountains move and the hills shake, My love will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says your compassionate LORD. “Poor Jerusalem, storm-tossed, and not comforted, I will set your stones in black mortar, and lay your foundations in sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling stones, and all your walls of precious stones. Then all your children will be taught by the LORD, their prosperity will be great, and you will be established in righteousness. You will be far from oppression, and you will certainly not be afraid; you will be far from terror, it will certainly not come near you. Isaiah 54:8-14 (HCSB)

In the Book of Revelation, Chapter 21, a parallel passage echoed God’s declaration about Jerusalem as a sanctuary city.

The foundations of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone; the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The 12 gates are 12 pearls; each gate made of a single pearl. The broad street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. I did not see a sanctuary in it because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its sanctuary. These words are a direct reflection of the Lord’s promise to God’s chosen people who were witnesses to Jerusalem’s downfall and demise during the Great Exile.

However, what seems to be the point? Is it that what the people took the greatest pride in – their gold and precious stones – will be nothing more than building materials in their new city? And, the point of the new vision is this: the most valuable thing will be who not what is in the center of the city. The Lord will reign there and shed His light (a metaphor for the revelation of wisdom and truth).

Where do you place your value in life? What do you invest your time and energy to gain? Your retirement portfolio can be the envy of your peers, but what good is your portfolio when your days come to an end. Unlike Disney and Universal Studios where fantasies come true, there is a cost to get in. God’s sanctuary city requires only a smile to affirm your faith in God’s grace to enter.

What is the focus of your life? What relationship is more important to you, financial or spiritual? Remember, Jesus declared that you cannot serve God and money equally? One will influence your interest in the other.

Coach

Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you also may be. You know the way where I am going.” “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:1-6 (HCSB)

NOTE: I believe Jesus was speaking about the ultimate sanctuary when he mentioned preparing dwelling places in my Father’s house. Sanctuary is God’s gift affirmed by Jesus, found by following his example.

 

The Walls of a Sanctuary are Built With Humility

Strong Tower

 

The Walls of a Sanctuary are Built With Humility

The one who is truly lazy in his work is a brother to a vandal. The name of the Lord is a strong tower (sanctuary); the righteous run to it and are protected. A rich man’s wealth is his fortified city; in his imagination, it is like a high wall. Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but before honor comes humility. The one who gives an answer before he listens – this is foolishness and disgrace for him. A man’s spirit can endure sickness, but who can survive a broken spirit? Prov 18:9-14 (HCSB)

Whether at school, at work, the community, or in the church, there are people we meet almost every day who are in the wall building business. You might even be in that business. Our insecurities about life, and about whom we believe we are, demand us to protect ourselves by building walls that keep others out. But, why would we want to build barriers and walls that keep people out? The wisdom of God’s Word certainly reveals there are walls built out of insecurity, and then there are the walls offering real security that humility discovers.

The insecure person builds walls to try and isolate themselves from others ever knowing the truth about some aspect of their lives. It is meant to keep others at a safe distance, so they really can never focus on the weaknesses of the person cowering behind the walls they have built in their life. However, in reality, the walls are just an illusion and prevent the person cowering behind the walls he or she built from ever seeing that they are missing out on the benefit of genuine relationships in this world. They have cut themselves off from true friendships and the experience of love for one another as God had intended. Their insecurity is justified by their pride, and they exist in a relationship of one – their “self”. What a sad and lonely existence our pride can cause us to enter into when our fears are allowed to rule over us.

The truly humble person has a high tower that they can run into, but the walls of this place are of God’s doing. This secure place is a refuge, a high place, a sanctuary from the tough times in life, but it is never intended to keep you there. It is a place a humble heart can come to find rest and restoration before going confidently back out to engage in life and its many relationships. It also is big enough for all to enter when there is a need for God’s peace and mercy. This high tower also helps you to see clearly your proper place in life and helps you focus on what is most important, and not your-“self.” Lasting relationships are encouraged in this safe place so that we can live confidently in the real world. It is a place where fears are replaced with love because where there is love there is not fear. The only price for entry into this “high tower” refuge is our “self”! We must come in humility to recognize the security that God offers us.

How about you? Have you built your own walls to hide behind out of insecurity and pride of “self” or do you know the way into God’s sanctuary where security comes from humility? Decide for yourself, which leads to genuine life, and which locks you out from genuine life. Seek God’s will, ways, and wisdom and the answer may become clear.

Coach

Whoever tries to make his  life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two will be in one bed: one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding grain together: one will be taken and the other left. [Two will be in a field: one will be taken, and the other will be left.] Luke 17:33-36 (HCSB)

God’s Sanctuary Has No Walls and Open Doors

the rock is where church is

God’s Sanctuary Has No Walls and Open Doors

On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city. Salvation is established as walls and ramparts. Open the gates so a righteous nation can come in; one that remains faithful. You will keep in perfect peace the mind [that is] dependent [on You], for it is trusting in You. Trust in the Lord forever, because in  Yah, the Lord, is an everlasting rock! For He has humbled those who live in lofty places – an inaccessible city. He brings it down; He brings it down to the ground; He throws it to the dust. Feet trample it, the feet of the humble, the steps of the poor. Isaiah 26:1-6 (HCSB)

Jerusalem was the pride of Judah, but it also was a city that was built upon a philosophy of exclusion in its history. The city gates were like a filter that allowed only the acceptable to enter. However, although it was considered an almost impregnable city with its lofty location on Mt. Zion and magnificent walls and hefty gates that could withstand any assault, what man builds is never a match for the Lord and His plans. Jerusalem in its history was conquered and destroyed twice as a consequence to their arrogance and inward, exclusive attitudes.

When we depend upon our own manufactured defenses that create walls that separate and divide us from others, God is never pleased. I have entered many churches where it truly is a sanctuary of seclusion and exclusion. I once served at a church where the people were sad about how their congregation had dwindled and died off until there were but a small group left of older, original members. They said, “We have failed to keep the church filled; even our own children and their children have left. Would you help us rebuild our church and fill these empty rooms and this sanctuary once again?” I rolled up my sleeves and for months we slowly opened the doors to the church and people began to visit and share with the people inside the church, however there was an uneasy feeling among the older members. The more I inquired for answers, the more I discovered their fear. What they feared was the community! They built their church in a community that had changed over the years and now the original older members lived in homes that were in new neighborhoods far from their original neighborhood that surrounded the church.  Their old mill town community, in their mind, had become a dangerous place to call home anymore. Right after a revival that the church held which was attended by many of the local families, I stumbled upon a meeting of the older men. They were plotting on ways to stop the change and to return the church to being what they wanted it to be: a sanctuary behind brick walls and closed doors that separated them from those strangers they feared in the community where the church was located. Needless to say, I realized my days as pastor there were done, and I prayed for the members as I left. Within weeks I noticed the lit church sign out front did not say “Welcome All” as it once did. Funerals still occurred in that church. And there was a sign I remember seeing as you left the fellowship hall: “Remember last one out, please turn out the lights!”

Churches are not buildings of brick and mortar. Churches are not to be bought and sold. Churches are not the furnishings and ornate windows. Churches are definitely not supposed to be identified by their massive doors that separate those on the inside from those on the outside. As I tried to share with the members of the church there, the church exists beyond the walls where people are sharing with people, not out of fear but love. There is where God’s plan of salvation is being experienced as disciples are making new disciples as God works in the hearts of men, women and children alike. The moment we assume ownership in the church, God is never pleased, and once in a while He will teach such a church just like He taught Jerusalem. God’s church does not need walls and He can and will remove them when it is necessary to get the point across.

Coach

God’s Sanctuary Found With Humility

God’s Sanctuary Found With Humility

The name of the LORD is a strong tower (impenetrable sanctuary); the righteous runs into it and is safe (set on high). A rich man’s wealth is his strong city (secure fortress) like a high wall in his own imagination. Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor. Prov 18:10-12 (NASB)

Whether at school, at work, the community, or in a church, there are people we meet almost daily that are in the wall construction business. Many of us might even offer such an enterprise on our résumé.

Our insecurities demand that we protect ourselves through the construction of impenetrable walls intending to keep others out. But, why would we want to build such barriers? According to God’s wisdom, we construct barriers out of our feelings of insecurity, but there are secure places of refuge discovered through humility.

An insecure person constructs walls in a futile effort to isolate themselves from others because they fear and therefore reject some aspect of their lives. Such a human-made sanctuary seeks to keep all those we label as unacceptable at a safe distance while preventing the same excluded people from recognizing the genuine fears and anxieties of the people cowering behind the walls they constructed to alleviate those same fright-filled concerns. However, in reality, human-made walls offer only an illusion of security; actually, walls comprised of steel, concrete, stones, and stout timbers only keep the people on the inside from seeing clearly, and they are the ones who miss out from the benefit of genuine relationships in this world.

The truth is those cowering in isolation have cut themselves off from God’s desire for us to experience trusting friendships and the love for one another as God intended. They have justified their isolation efforts by their prideful motives of self-preservation. They exist to preserve one relationship – their relationship with their “self”. What a sad and lonely existence our foolish pride can stir up in us when we allow our fears to overwhelm us.

The truly humble discover God’s strong tower where they can find refuge, where the walls are God’s design. This secure place is the only impenetrable refuge or sanctuary from the challenges in our life. However, we should always remain mindful that God never intends for us to remain isolated standing high upon his tower or behind the walls of his sanctuary. God offers refuge and sanctuary to all his children, not just the ones we feel safe accepting into our lives. A humble heart will enter to find rest and restoration before confidently stepping back out into the world God intended all of us to connect with all of his creation.

God’s true refuge or sanctuary has the unlimited capacity of accommodating all who seek his grace, peace, and mercy. His high tower likewise clarifies our proper place and purpose in life and restores our focus on God’s priorities, diminishing our selfish priorities. Constructing lasting relationships are encouraged within the confines of God’s safe place so that we can live confidently beyond the walls of his sanctuary in the real world. Inside God’s sanctuary, our fears are quelled by his love, reminding us that where love exists, fear cannot. The only price for entry into this “high tower” refuge is our “self’! We must come in humility to recognize the security that God offers us.

How about you? Are you someone who builds walls to hide behind out of insecurity and pride, or do you know the way onto God’s high tower where security comes from humility? Which leads to genuine life, and which locks you away from an authentic life? Seek God’s will, ways, and wisdom and the right choice may become evident.

Coach
www.coachbrown.org

Whoever tries to make his life secure will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. Luke 17:33

Premier novel in the Shiloh series of stories, April 4, 2017. Advance orders available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The premise of sanctuary threads its way through the ongoing story about a small South Georgia town of Shiloh and how its citizens dealing with dark secrets, scandal, and sin impacting their tranquil rural community.

Go to https://www.facebook.com/TMBrownauthor/ and find more information on events and how to order the book on Amazon.

Sanctuary Review by Dana Ridenour, author of Award Winning, Behind the Mask

In his debut novel, Sanctuary, T.M. Brown, introduces his readers to the cast of characters who live in the tight-knit, small town of Shiloh, Georgia. Theo and Liddy Phillips moved to Shiloh from Atlanta expecting a quiet, tranquil retirement. Little did they know that their arrival would stir old wounds and lead them to discover a buried secret in their new hometown. Theo sets out to write a newspaper article about a local man who tragically died in a fire. While researching the local hero, he discovers quite a few secrets that some people in the town want to remain a secret. Brown immerses the reader into this quaint town and allows the reader to get to know his characters. The characters are interesting and likable and the story is believable. The novel is God-driven and the language is clean. It was difficult to say goodbye to the colorful characters who reside in Shiloh. Luckily this is the first book of what will hopefully be a long series.

Ignorance, Our Greatest Enemy

Ignorance cannot win the mind of an avid reader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genuine Sanctuary is found when we teach our children and grandchildren the love of reading. A thirst for books sharpens the sword that will serve them well in the battle against ignorance and dependence upon others to shape their beliefs.

Sign up for updates here or go to https://www.facebook.com/TMBrownauthor/ for list of local book events scheduled throughout the state of Georgia in the coming weeks. Also have virtual interviews forthcoming and book club offerings.

Excerpt from Sanctuary. “Just beyond the shadows of the stores and office buildings surrounding Town Square, our new neighborhood displayed a patchwork of quaint homes with manicured lawns. Most of the homes appeared fairly modest in size and offered little doubt that more than one generation raised their families in them. Mature magnolias, moss-ladened stately oaks, as well as picturesque pecan trees stood watch over the homes. The patched sidewalks and curbs reflected decades of children on bikes, mothers pushing baby carriages and couples taking a stroll. Inconspicuous narrow alleys ran behind each row of homes. Wrought iron or painted picket fencing with ornate stone or brick walkways welcomed guests to the front porches.”

Premier novel in the Shiloh Saga series of stories, April 4, 2017. Advance orders available.

Southern Fiction – Sanctuary, April 4th Launch Date

Premier novel in the Shiloh Saga series of stories, April 4, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An excerpt from a recent pre-launch review.

‘Time crept while I stirred and tossed in futile attempts to capture any semblance of actual sleep. Capitulation arrived shortly after four when I poured a cup of coffee and sat down in the living room…Okay Lord what are you trying to share with me?’ Theo Phillips, Main character Ch 20, pg. 169

When the author used the descriptor, ‘a couple of southern minutes’, I knew I was in for a treat as main characters Theo Phillips and his wife Liddy started retirement in their new hometown of Shiloh, Georgia.

(Thank you, Linda Pifer for your extensive review. Her complete review and others will be soon published on my author web pages.)

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.

PLEASE STOP BY FOR A SNEAK PEEK at my LinkedIn page or go to my Facebook Author page and connect for regular updates and information regarding Sanctuary’s anticipated March release. I am forever grateful to all who love Southern Fiction mysteries…

The grand antebellum courthouse in Sparta, GA rededicated in 2016 after burning to the ground in 2014.

Premier book signing event will be in Sparta, GA on April 8th, home of the antebellum courthouse that was razed in 2014 and rebuilt and dedicated in 2016. Their majestic edifice provided the inspiration for the writing of the core story in Sanctuary.

April 22nd, Aiken SC “Wine and Sign” Book Event offers a great venue for Southern Fiction lovers. My wife and I look forward to participating.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/TMBrownauthor/ to learn of all my future book events in the coming weeks.

Advance book orders now available leading up to April 4th launch date. All books will be signed and shipped the first week in April.

T. M. Brown, “Mike” to my friends!

T. M. Brown is a Southern boy at heart, although he’s lived and traveled in many states far removed from his beloved boyhood roots in Georgia and Florida. He returned to his Southern roots several years ago while his two sons were still in school and regularly traveled throughout the South before returning to college shortly after his youngest son graduated. In the last fifteen years he has preached, taught and coached in Alabama, Georgia and Florida until his wife and he moved outside of Atlanta and retired to write, travel, and spoil grandchildren.

email: tmcabrown@gmail.com

Trying to look clam but getting anxious about Sanctuary’s release next month.

Avoid Conflict at the Crossroads

Your first Love will guide your crossroad choices. Choose wisely to avoid conflict.

Avoid Conflict at the Crossroads

Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is their shame. They are focused on earthly things, but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait… Philippians 3:17-20

Many love the promise of God’s heavenly kingdom, but few are willing to bear the burden of conflict at the crossroads along the journey. Many desire comfort, but few accept the tribulation that waits beyond the crossroads. Many companions seek to dine at God’s table, but few are unwilling to fast to be closer to him. Who willingly pursues labor and hardship, sleepless nights, hunger and thirst; often lacking shelter and proper clothing to reach the heavenly destination?

Many desire to rejoice with him, but few are willing to suffer for him – or with him. We quickly forget that God promised that through our suffering, our comfort awaits. Many acknowledge their weaknesses before they discover their God-given strengths. As a result, many find consolation in weaknesses, in insults, in catastrophes, in persecutions, and in other pressures of life?

It has been given to us on behalf of Jesus not only to take heart in his example but also to struggle and suffer for and with him. However, do many understand what that means or are they merely words we claim?

Many follow the example of Jesus into the breaking of bread, seeking fellowship with him, but few willingly strive to share the cup of his suffering. Many revere and desire God’s blessings, but few choose to share in the humiliation of suffering. Many profess to love God, so long as adversities do not happen in their lives. Many praise him, so long as they receive comfort from him. However, if God abides in us and then seems to leave us for even a little while, how many start complaining or become depressed?

How powerful can our love for God be when mixed with self-interest or self-love? Those of us who love God for who God is and do not seek some personal comfort of our own – they are the few who bless God amidst the heartache, tribulation, and anguish of real life. There is no difference in their love manifested in a state of perfect comfort and peace. However, many always seek after the blessing of comfort and thus should be called a “mercenary,” because they only reveal their association with God when they receive their expected compensation. They are lovers of themselves, not God? They only desire to profit and take advantage of the relationship.

Who is willing to serve God seeking nothing in return? Is that not what God’s love with us reveals? Is that the example we learned from Jesus? It is rare that anyone becomes so spiritually disciplined that they willingly release their “white knuckle grasp” upon their worldly treasures. Consider how hard it is to find the truly poor in spirit, those free from the world’s afflictions and influences. Such a person would surrender all their material wealth and possessions as if they were nothing. This individual would still sense in their heart that all they have would never be enough. That same person would desire all knowledge and yet realize how little they know and far removed they are from ever knowing God. They may live an exemplary virtuous life and be fervently devoted, yet lack much because such a life would recognize one most necessary thing is missing. What is that one thing? Be willing to surrender everything, forsaking even ourselves. Turn completely away from our desires. Cling to nothing out of self-love. Release our “white knuckle grasp” on what pleases us and seek first and foremost God’s will, ways, and wisdom.

When we have accomplished all that needs to be done, so far as we know, and are able, consider it as having done nothing at all. At that point, we will realize that no one will be richer, no one more powerful, and no one freer because we can freely disregard all worldly things of value, humble ourselves, and rejoice in God, who exalts us with his blessings of comfort and peace.

My daily prayer: Lord God, I seek to understand the joy and discover the contentment found in knowing you for your sake, not for my sake. I rejoice in the blessings that flow from walking alongside you each day, no matter the conflict going on around me. May all I say and do honor and praise you. I lay all my worries and concerns that will affect my family and me that I have little control over. Direct my steps according to your perfect, good and pleasing will. Lord, may my life inspire my family and others to seek you to lead their lives as well. Amen

For additional reading: 2 Corinthians 1:5; 11:27; 12:10; Philippians 1:29-30; 2:21; Luke 9:14; 17:10; 18:14; 22:41-42; Mark 10:38; Matthew 16:24-25

Coach

True Comfort is Possible

True Comfort Rests With God Alone

 

True Comfort is Possible

I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway! I will lead them. I will comfort those who mourn, bringing words of praise to their lips. May they have abundant peace, both near and far,” says the LORD, who heals them. Isaiah 57:18-19 NLT

Can we trust in the comfort that is made possible by God’s great mercy and his heavenly grace?

Whether surrounded by a large circle of right-minded, faithful friends, an abundant library of inspirational books offering beautiful prose and poems, and reassuring sweet songs and inspirational hymns keep you company, all offer but temporary relief should God’s grace depart our midst leaving us in spiritual poverty. In such times no better remedy exists than to wait patiently, remaining resolute in the pursuit of reconnecting with God’s will, ways, and wisdom. It is there where we can rediscover the comfort made possible only by God’s great mercy and his heavenly grace.

Everyone, no matter the depth or breadth of their spiritual walk, will experience times when the comfort of God’s grace wanes. Never has a saint been so highly enraptured and enlightened that they never faced temptation sooner or later. In fact, no one grows closer to God without enduring the challenges of life-changing trials and tribulation.

Temptation serves as a harbinger signaling a time of comfort is yet to come, because God promises such as a blessing upon those tested by times of trials and temptations. God’s comfort galvanizes a person’s resolve to endure the certainty of adversities in life. Also, God allows temptation to prevent us from growing proud of any good we might feel we initiated because God knows the carnal lusts and desires that remain a threat to us. We must never cease preparing ourselves for the battle at hand; our enemies continue to be all around us. However, we can find solace in the revelation that we are not alone in our times of trials and temptations that without fail will confront us. All of us must take to heart the donning of the full armor of God for the battles we must face each day. His comfort is the reward for the victory that he enables us to win when we place our trust in him alone, rather than try to fight the battles alone.

Commit our hearts unto patience to find comfort and then engage the crucible rather than pursue pleasure. Because, who in this world would refuse the joy and comfort that God has revealed, if we firmly believe that it is available to us? There is no comparison to the eternal joy and comfort available from God that this world can offer. In fact, all worldly delights and pleasure are empty, worthless, or short-lived. Whereas, the pure pleasures that come from God are pleasant, overly-abundant, free and unequaled. However, we cannot claim God’s blessings anytime we desire, he alone dispenses them according to his will.

God continually demonstrates his love for us by extending his mercy and grace though we do not deserve either, which begs the question: Why should we continue to fail to return to him our heartfelt thanksgiving, especially since trials and times of temptation will never be fully behind us in this world? Remember: Grace always accompanies those who are duly thankful, and what the humble receive always comes at the expense of the proud!

My daily prayer: Gracious Lord God, your word is truth and you have proclaimed that your grace is abundant and free to all who trust in you by faith. Please accept me as an available channel of your grace so that others may discover the same blessings that you have bestowed upon me. I recognize that I cannot continue to grow in your grace unless others around me are sharing in the abundance of grace and comfort you have afforded me. Lord, use me according to your will so I may witness your blessings upon my family because as they are comforted in your grace, I too am comforted. May your mercy and grace provide the confidence we need when temptations attack my family or me. You alone Lord win the victory! Amen

Coach

For additional reading: Luke 9:23; 14:27; 1 Timothy 4:4-5; Revelation 2:7; 2 Corinthians 12:6-7, 9; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Matthew 9:37-38; John 7:38; James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34

Sanctuary Sneak Preview – April 4th Release Date

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.

https://www.facebook.com/TMBrownauthor/

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.

God bless and spread the news.

Coach, aka T.M. Brown

Premier novel in the Shiloh Saga series of stories, April 4th, 2017

Know Our Self to Know God

When is God heard the clearest, in the stillness of a quiet moment each day or when the pews are packed each week?

Know Our Self to Know God

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

Coach

Please take a moment to subscribe for regular updates and future messages on Seeking God.

“Shiloh 1” reserved for the mayor!

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?

Harold’s ‘Shiloh 1’ vehicle in Sanctuary

At the End GOD Waits

At the end of our journey, God waits

At the End, GOD Waits

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.
Coach

Words of Wisdom #256-40EC

T M “Mike” Brown, Author Page

The abandoned mansion outside of Shiloh found in Chapter One.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go to:  https://coachbrownorg.wordpress.com

Creating a separate author web page for my Shiloh stories. SANCTUARY is the premier book, March 2017 release by Deeds Publishing, Athens, GA. TESTAMENT is the first of the sequels, Fall 2017 release.

More news about the book launch is forthcoming…

T M “Mike” Brown, aka Coach Brown

tmcabrown@gmail.com

Seek God Before Life Fades

Sooner or later, we discover God

Seek God Before Life Fades

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…

Coach

Words of Wisdom #255-39EC

Receive the Light But Never Forget the Dark Days

Light is sweet, and it is pleasing for the eyes to see the sun. For if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, since they will be many. All that comes is futile. Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sights of your eyes, but know that for all of these things God will bring you to judgment. Remove sorrow from your heart, and put away pain from your flesh, because youth and the prime of life are fleeting. Eccl 11:7-10 (HCSB)

Receive the Light But Never Forget the Dark Days

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.

Coach

Words of Wisdom #254-38EC

www.coachbrown.org

Expectation, Not Anticipation

How will you run into the New Year?

Send your bread on the surface of the waters, for after many days you may find it. Give a portion to seven or even to eight, for you don’t know what disaster may happen on earth.
If the clouds are full, they will pour out rain on the earth; whether a tree falls to the south or the north, the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. One who watches the wind will not sow, and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap. Just as you don’t know the path of the wind, or how bones [develop] in the womb of a pregnant woman, so you don’t know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening do not let your hand rest, because you don’t know which will succeed, whether one or the other, or if both of them will be equally good. Eccl 11:1-6 (HCSB)

Just as God counseled the disciples of Jesus, we too cannot stand idle waiting for what has been promised to happen someday. Just because something will happen in the future does not guarantee it will occur in the present. We must choose to live in expectation, not anticipation. We cannot forgo living in the present because of what we believe about the future. What we do in the here and now bears upon how the future unfolds. God made it very clear: He has chosen to use humankind to prepare and build his kingdom on earth until such time he unites the kingdoms of heaven and earth together. However, until then, he patiently perseveres with humanity’s capriciousness, not because of those hesitating and struggling to act as he wishes, but for those who will benefit from what will take place. God’s forbearance is for the good of all, especially those who have yet to hear and respond to ’his will, ways, and wisdom.

For those who know God but struggle in obedience to ’his will, ways, and wisdom; God disciplines those who know him, yet willfully disobey – not to punish but instruct and guide.

All will face judgment someday for how we have responded or failed to respond to God’s guidance. None of us will ever comply with his instruction entirely, yet God always works faithfully using our shortcomings to reveal his kingdom purposes. To become more obedient and responsive to his will, ways, and wisdom, we must stop anticipating the signs that will tell us his return is near. That marks all religious procrastinators who blindly seek to predict the Lord’s arrival so that they can then scurry and scramble about doing what they should have been doing all along. In the meantime, they sit, stare, and secretly hope his return stalls another day.

Those who beg the Lord’s return are tired of waiting and have feigned obedience outwardly while inwardly they struggle.

Those who have been faithful and obedient have lived in expectation, not anticipation. The faithful have chosen to live each day with a purpose, seeking to grow in obedience to God’s will, ways, and wisdom, because not only does that please God, others may be watching so that their yearning heart yearns might be filled with what we have.

Do I need to understand all the signs? No! All I need to know is God holds my future in his hands. The past is behind me and thankfully God’s forgiveness has allowed me to move beyond the past. God only holds me accountable for the choices I make in the present. If the dark clouds bring storms, so be it. Let the wind howl. I do not care from whence it came, only that I must face it. I praise God for all newborns conceived without trying to comprehend God’s miracle of creation beyond what God allows me to grasp. Daily I pray to plant a seed and do my part of witnessing its development as it prospers to the benefit of God and His Kingdom.

Am I perfect? …absolutely not! However, I am being made perfect by God’s grace. How about you?
Coach

Words of Wisdom #253-37EC

www.coachbrown.org

Choosing the Right People to Govern

When did our Constitution change from “We the People” to “Me the People”?

Choosing the Right People to Govern

Woe to you, land, when your king is a household servant, and your princes feast in the morning. Blessed are you, land, when your king is a son of nobles and your princes feast at the proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness. Because of laziness the roof caves in, and because of negligent hands the house leaks. A feast is prepared for laughter and wine makes life happy, and money is the answer for everything. Do not curse the king even in your thoughts, and do not curse a rich person even in your bedroom, for a bird of the sky may carry the message, and a winged creature may report the matter. Eccl 10:16-20 (HCSB)

Without a doubt, the average person relates best with others who are most like them, but is that a good thing when selecting leaders to govern over us? Do we want the best qualified, or do we prefer to be able to relate to our leaders?

If you need some form of life-saving surgery, do you prefer a surgeon chosen out of your pool of friends, those most like you, or would you seek the most qualified physician?

Governors and Presidents are not meant to be our best friends, but the best-suited person to keep us secure and maintain stability for our life.

The Social Contract theory of man (research Socrates, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu) says that society is willing to give up certain personal natural liberties to protect primary overriding interests of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of property” (ergo, happiness in the Jeffersonian translation). In our willingness to submit to an approved government to govern over us, we also recognize that the best government is the one that governs the least, safeguarding our liberties the best. That balance requires competence, and yes, the vast majority of people in society lack the necessary experience and training to govern efficiently and effectively – nor are our circle of friends or family. Therefore, choose candidates for positions in government not because we like them the most or can relate to them best. The question we should ask ourselves is will we be more secure with this person(s) governing over us if elected to serve the best interests of our society?

As we look ahead to a future of hope and prosperity, we should remind ourselves: In America, the government is allowed to govern solely by the consent of the governed – that is the constitutional principle of popular sovereignty. Before we stomp our feet like petulant, spoiled brats and bad mouth those duly elected into office, let’s remember, whether we supported that person, they have been authorized by the Constitution (contract of the governed) to govern over them. Any bad mouthing serves only to discredit the will of the society which lawfully acted to identify new leaders to govern over them.
“We the people” have the final say – but before you throw a hissy fit over the outcome of the next election, remember our Social Contract based Constitution says “We the people” are sovereign in America’s society, not “me the people.”

From God’s perspective, he alone holds the right to exercise his divine sovereignty, but he chooses to do so through the hearts and minds of the people in our Nation. I pray the voice of the people will express God’s will, ways, and wisdom as they seek God’s guidance and approval for the selection of all future servant-leaders to serve the people.

For those who still feel the roof is caving in, and the breaches in the walls are crumbling all around us, and all hope feels lost, you can only blame yourselves for desiring your will, not God’s will.

Coach
Words of Wisdom #252-36EC

Don’t Follow the Fool’s Folly

Stupid is found caught up in the fool’s folly.

Don’t Follow the Fool’s Folly

The words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, but the lips of a fool consume him. The beginning of the words of his mouth is folly, but the end of his speaking is evil madness. Yet the fool multiplies words. No one knows what will happen, and who can tell anyone what will happen after him? The struggles of fools weary them, for they don’t know how to go to the city. Eccl 10:12-15 (HCSB)

 

Confusion and chaos are the destiny of those who listen and fall onto the path of the fool. So many people are susceptible to the tickling and tantalizing words that the fool seems capable of espousing. It seems most people have the struggle of selfishness within them and that stirs them to seek shortcuts and believe that there are easier ways to get ahead in life. Even when they know better, they want to believe the lies and folly of the fool who paints a picture of the better life.

Should we blame the fool and his folly, or brand ourselves as the fool whose folly is following the advice of the fool?

So how can we filter the words that flow from the lips of the fool versus the wisdom that come from the wise?

The Bible puts it this way: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his instructions have good insight. Psalms 111:10 (HCSB) This fear is utmost reverence and awe for the priority and perfection of the Lord’s guidance to mankind. Where can we get that guidance for all our life decisions? It begins by committing daily to seeking God’s will, ways, and wisdom.

Invest in the hearing, reading and meditating upon what God’s priority and perfection are, then your ears and eyes become more sensitive to the folly of fools. No matter how convincing their message sounds, the fool’s mistake is he cannot help but to keep talking. He continually attempts to reinforce and convince everyone of his twisted truth. However, when you invest in connecting with God’s encouraging word, you discover how authentic and reliable his message is for your life. God’s message is relevant to your life and without compromise. It not only points the way but also states how one is to succeed along the way he leads. When you trust the Lord, he discovers that he walks with you along the path he directs you.

Then there is the fool’s folly and his misguided ways. He gladly spouts off to all who choose to listen how awesome his way is to follow. The fool prods and goads others to walk in his folly, but he does not tag along. You see, the fool’s ways are lonely ways. When you get caught up in the fool’s folly, you find out that you have lost your way listening to the fool’s directions. Your sacred man-made GPS has its limits, faults, and shortcomings. The fool’s folly befuddles even Google maps or Garmin devices. Only God’s will, ways, and wisdom are reliable. When God leads, you will not get lost unless you choose to stop listening and trusting in the Lord’s true direction.

Who are you relying upon to guide you through the days that lie ahead in your life? The choice is yours.

Coach

Words of Wisdom #251-35EC

Upside Down Distorted Reality

In a world turned upside down a lot of changes would cause confusion and chaos.
In a world turned upside down a lot of changes would cause confusion and chaos.

Upside Down Distorted Reality

There is an evil I have seen under the sun, an error proceeding from the presence of the ruler: The fool is appointed to great heights, but the rich remain in lowly positions. I have seen slaves on horses, but princes walking on the ground like slaves. The one who digs a pit may fall into it, and the one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. The one who quarries stones may be hurt by them; the one who splits trees may be endangered by them. If the axe is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success. If the snake bites before it is charmed, then there is no advantage for the charmer. Eccl 10:5-11 (HCSB)

Upside down reality reveals we are facing evil’s spin aimed to confuse and misdirect our understanding of the truth. Consider how so many people have been blinded by false narratives for the sake of change, so that fools have found their way into leadership positions and they have appointed more fools as replacements for more qualified civil servants. Once the government is secured by fools in positions of power it seeks to turn society upside down to suit their upside down reality where the poor and disadvantaged dominate the rich and successful people. Wealth is redistributed like Robin Hood – take from the rich and give to the poor – to win the hearts of the huddled masses. The days of evil are in place because social order has been turned on its head by fools who do not understand the consequences of their folly.

God has orchestrated an order for society, and whenever man attempts to usurp the natural order of things, chaos, division and dissent follow. However, God does not lose control on his natural order intended for the good of the people. When fools pursue their upside down folly, they soon discover that their schemes are but snares that entrap themselves. They are exposed as the thief taking what is not his to take and becomes the victim in the end.

Whenever anyone attempts to perform skilled work without attainting the proper skills and experience the risk for harm to themselves and others is escalated exponentially. Experience and maturity enables a person to develop as a respected and capable craftsman. If this is true, what about the more challenging leadership roles in our government. Failures and mistakes at this level impact a whole nation of people.

When looking to choose people for high offices we should make sure they are adequately experienced and qualified to perform their duties for the common good of the public, not for selfish gain or for vanity’s sake. Who would hand over a sharpened axe to an inexperienced, immature child to chop wood?

We need to realize the wisdom to choose the right people is a gift from God. Our leaders need to be humble men of God seeking God’s will, ways and wisdom. A Godly Nation thrives whenever the leadership and the people are on the same page.

As a final thought, God works his will through “the people” who hold all chosen leaders accountable and responsible. When government fails to serve the people, change occurs! What the fools have turned upside down, God through the people makes right in due time. Let us all consider God’s will, ways and wisdom before we demand change, because equally as threatening as poor leadership, demanding change for the sake of change a part from God’s will is dangerous too.

Coach

Words of Wisdom #250-34EC