A Cautionary “Tell” on Highs & Lows

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A. M. Thoughts: 
Life brings with it many highs and lows. The highs are those feel good moments that allow for personal victories and triumphs. The lows are those what was that moments that challenge or stretch us beyond our level of comfort. Whether you find yourself on the high end or low end of these moments, it is important to center or rather to ground yourself by staying close to the LORD and in His Word. 

DANGER!!!

If one dwells on or in the high indefinitely, there is a possibility that pride may begin to consume you. How does this happen? It happens slowly. It happens subtly. It begins with a general sense of elation, but it later shifts and becomes an inflated sense of self. (No, not in all cases, of course.) One begins to think, “Look what I have done! Look at what I can do.” I versus God becomes the focus. 

There is danger in this thinking. When God is taken out of the equation, it is then easier for Satan to lure and entice. Without an attachment to God or a grounding in Him, more and more selfish liberties can be taken, more and more tainted excuses can be made for why something was accomplished, etc. It is at this point that the evil one has you. He knows that he simply has to attract self to self.  In doing so, he understands  that it negates your need for God. Be warned! This is dangerous.

In contrast (and yet not), if one dwells on the lows constantly, there is a possibility that hopelessness can suffocate or rather drain the life out of you. How does this happen? It happens slowly. It happens subtly. It begins with a doubt, moves into fear, and germinates and grows into immobility. One begins to think, “Can I do this? Is there anything I can even do to fix this, change that, or make things right?” I versus God becomes the focus.

There is danger in this thinking. When dark, debilitating thoughts become more prominent in one’s mind and heart, there is then no room for God. (No, not in all cases, of course.) If God is pushed out or crowded out, the evil knows that he’s got you. He understands that darkness can be eradicated by light. The Light – the LORD Himself – casts out ALL darkness. He and He alone casts out Satan every time you hope, believe and trust in Him. He doesn’t want you to realize the power you have access to. 

Scripture Reflection: Proverbs

Challenge: Make a list of your successes. Give thanks to God for every one of them. Next, write down your challenges. Thank God for them also. Once you have done the aforementioned, prostrate yourself before the LORD and fully surrender your highs and lows. Give yourself into His keeping. Ask the LORD to direct you, to guide you, and to tell you (by way of His Word) what He would have you do from this point forward.

#5/52STUDY17

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In the A.M.|Am I Strong Enough?

In the A.M. (My Thoughts About the I AM in the A.M.)

4:23 A.M.

“for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].”

See 2 Cor 12:9-10 (AMP)

Am I strong enough when I am weak to call upon the LORD?

Do I have enough fortitude to bow my head and confess that I am wrong?

Do shame and dread consume me or has hope become my voice?

Am I wise enough, insightful enough to recognize a greater, more precious want?

Am I ready to surrender all in deed just as with word?

Am I ready to forsake all else and take God at His word?

4:59 A.M. #HeisAble #GODstrength #JESUSbreakseverychain #livingTRUTHfully #encouragement

The Upside of Being Down

Is there an upside to being down? Can something positive be found even in that which is seemingly negative? Does good come, in any capacity, to that which is bad?

These were some of the thoughts that I had this morning. As I was considering the Bible and my present study emphasis, I could not help but think about the various people that were touched and influenced by Jesus. He was a vessel of love and hope to so many people. He showed compassion to all, not just to some. There was no person too low for Him to reach and teach. There is a lesson in that for us all.

As I continued to reflect on what I call the upside of being down, three words stayed with me — hope, deliverance, and promise.

By definition…

Hope: To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

Deliverance: Deliverance is defined as “a rescue from bondage or danger.” Deliverance in the Bible relates to the acts of God, whereby He rescues His people from peril.

Promise: In the Bible, the promise of God is the declaration or assurance which God has given in His Word of bestowing blessings on His people. Such assurance resting on the perfect justice, power, benevolence and immutable veracity of God, cannot fail of performance.

Encouragement for the Day: In any case, situation, or event, Jesus Christ is and will always be the upside for those who are down. He is the messenger of hope. We can trust Him to bring to pass that which is most beneficial for each one of us. He is the means of deliverance for all. He has the power to free us from any and every stronghold that binds us. He is the agent by which the promise has been fulfilled. Salvation comes through no one other than the Son of God. Remember these things when you are going through your next storm or challenging experience. The simple truth is that there is an upside to being down.

Psalm of Reflection: Psalm 121

I Called Him DANCER by G. Edward Snipes

CSS Interview with the Author

What made you write I CALLED HIM DANCER? Have you ever danced, taken lessons?

The only dance lesson I’ve received came when I was walking in the woods. A yellow cloud surrounded me and I began swatting yellow jackets like a break-dancer. Upon reflection, I don’t think I had the grace needed to make it big, so I quit after my first lesson. No more bees for me.

The inspiration for I Called Him Dancer came from a song performed by Tralena Walker and co-written by Tom Webster. I attended a meeting at the Atlanta Writers Club. Tralena and Tom were guest speakers. The topic was on how to write a story in lyrics for songs. Not my cup of Formosa Oolong, but at least it was entertaining. After performing the song, “Dancer”, either Tom or Tralena said, “We’ve been looking for someone who will turn the song into a novel. We think it would make a great story.”

Until those words were spoken, I was a passive observer. I looked up and words were
swarming around me like those yellow jackets. They attacked my head while I lay
screaming on the floor. Okay, maybe I didn’t scream – but my mind did. In an instant, the story unfolded in my mind and I knew this was something I was to write.

I knew nothing about dancing (other than what the bees taught me). Tom and Tralena gave me the lyrics and I started researching and writing. I have to admit that I worried about the dancing scenes, but I knew things took shape when people began asking how I became so knowledgeable about dance.  I thought back to the bees and said, “It’s just something that hit me while walking in the woods.”

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was a child, I got my first book. I flipped through the pages, then tore it apart. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s exactly what you do when editing a manuscript.

I hated writing when I was younger. I only did what I had to do, and sometimes not even that. Writers block was more like writers dementia. My mind didn’t return to me until after … hmm. What were we talking about?

In 1998, I became active in prison ministry. Many of the men I ministered to were eager to learn. Someone asked me if I had my studies or notes on paper. I agreed to write out the next study and then my writing career was born. The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t write. It was that I didn’t have something to say. Or didn’t realize I had something to say. Over time writing transformed from a task to a passion.

Is I Called Him Dancer your first fictional story?

My first fictional story was written in high school. It wasn’t supposed to be fiction, but hey, the best fiction looks like the real world, right? I’ll tell you the story.

In high school, I had a class that was dedicated to writing a 30 page research paper. I chose the topic, The Arms race between the US and Russia. It was the 1980s when the Cold War was still on everyone’s mind. We spent weeks in the library researching our topic. I say ‘we’ in the general sense. My research was sports and other useless browsing.  At the halfway point, we had to turn in our research note cards. The teacher graded them and as she returned them, she said, “Some of you aren’t going to pass this class.” She paused in front of my desk as she said this, and then dropped my notecards on my desk. She continued, “You cannot write this paper with less than 70 research cards.”

I counted my cards. Seven. A very weak seven. This information must have shocked my brain, for I didn’t even think about this again until the teacher informed the class that the rough draft was due in the morning. “Holy cow! It’s due tomorrow?” I said.

After school, I visited a few friends, ate dinner, and watched TV. It was now nearly bedtime. No more goofing off. I sat down and began to write. The information flowed. I clearly needed more research sources, so interviewed military experts born mere minutes ago. But hey, Colonial Imagination was still a source. I wrote thirty pages – somehow. And I got a good grade in the class. After all, no one had more expert sources than I did.

I should have known then that writing was in my future, but it would be more than two decades before I discovered a passion for writing.

Tell us a little about your book, I Called Him Dancer.

For a moment, Michael danced on top of the world, but one bad choice turned his life upside down. The once promising Broadway star now washes windows for tips and lives among the homeless. When his former dance partner recognizes him behind the fray of whiskers, shame drives him away from her. Angry at God and the
world, the Dancer refuses to allow anyone into his life. When everything is stripped away, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.

I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman’s enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless friend, who has given up on life.

Who is your favorite character in I Called Him Dancer?

The character that inspired me the most is Kenyon. Many readers have stated the same. He’s human, struggling to do what is right, and lives by a genuine faith. At times he wrestles between what he knows God wants him to do, and what he wants. Kenyon is down to earth, not preachy, yet his life has an impact on others.

In the story I tried to present Christianity in an honest light. Many who claim to be Christians show hypocrisy and drive others (like the Dancer) away from the faith. This is a real problem in the Christian culture. Kenyon shows what sincere faith looks like. He’s far from perfect, but his simple faith impacts those around him. Kenyon’s sincerity is something the Dancer can’t understand and it piques his curiosity.

What would you like your readers to take away from this novel?

I want people to look at the reality of how faith impacts the world around us. Hypocrisy is being pretentious about faith, and there is a difference between failure and hypocritical behavior. Christians shouldn’t feel dejected when they fail. It’s part of this life of reaching upward.

Also, we all know someone who appears hopeless and hostile toward God, but we don’t know what the Lord is
doing behind the scenes. Ultimately, hope is what everyone should take away. Hope that readers are not alone in their struggles. Hope that our lives can make an impact – even with our imperfections. Finally, hope that the people we care about are never out of God’s reach.

How can readers get in touch with you?

You can flash a light on the clouds that says, ‘Free chicken fingers,’ and I’ll play Batman music and come running. Some people prefer the simpler route of connecting with me on Twitter @eddiesnipes. My Facebook username is eddiesnipes. It might seem like a strange coincidence, but my LinkedIn name is also eddiesnipes. Even more crazy is my website: http://www.eddiesnipes.com. On each of these, I just closed my eyes and typed out random keys. I might have peeked on a few letters. You can get the book through online bookstores or your local Christian bookstores.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speaker Services (www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com).

A New Horizon

by Kim Teamer

The beauty of Your majesty surrounds me.
Only in Your presence can I be found.
I long to touch Your heart, my LORD.
But once.
Just once.
A moment to embrace You – Your Radiant Sun.

The kiss of Your heavenly Being upon the evident astounds.
The wonder of my new horizon screams Your name and shouts…
Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty who was and is and is to come.
But once.
Just once.
A moment to embrace You – Your Radiant Sun.

The place where two meet to become One.
Where the natural meets the supernatural.
Where the tangible meets the intangible.
Ordinary meets extraordinary.
The faithless meets the Faithful.
But once.
Just once.
A moment to embrace You – Your Radiant Sun.

A new dawn.
A new day.
A new season.
A new time.
A new hope.
A new love.
A new Light.
From this moment forward, a genesis of new beginnings.
But once.
Just once.
A moment to embrace You – Your Radiant Sun.

Beyond compare, golden rays of possibility shine toward Your wandering child.
Momentum and anticipation build, climaxing into treasures unfolding anew.
This, my LORD, my new horizon is infinitely about You.
But once.
Just once.
A moment to embrace You – Your Radiant Sun.

Where You choose to take me, I will prayerfully go.
Nothing compares to this newness.
Your new horizon leading to my unknown.
I trust Your instruction.
I long to hold you close.
But once.
Just once.
My Beloved.
A moment to embrace You – Your Radiant Son.

~

Isn’t it so like God to provide a lesson for our lives in something so simply divine as the horizon?

~

Scripture Reflection: Malachi 4:2