Monthly Archives: November 2016

Prepare the Way…

adventI have to admit I am not at all ready for Christmas, not to mention Advent, which started yesterday. I just returned from a 16-day trip to Australia, where it’s summer…tropical, warm, sunny, green. It was tough to come back to reality, to face jet lag, holiday family hoopla, gray trees and cold weather. The child in me just wants to go back on vacation. But I know this feeling too shall pass, and I yearn, as I do every year, to get ready for Christmas, to get in the “Christmas spirit,” not only with decorations and shopping and such, but in my heart and soul. So what will I do to prepare this year? How will this year be different than last Christmas, and the ones from years past, where I tend to find myself sitting in church on Christmas Eve thinking I’m really not in the spirit enough yet…and it’s already upon me…that feeling of not preparing or being ready enough. First, I think I will remember lessons learned from the Aussies…they are by nature so happy, friendly and relaxed! Their motto is “no worries,” even though they have the most dangerous animals on the planet (if the sharks don’t get ‘ya, the crocs, stingers, snakes and spiders might!). Fortunately we went swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving in their beautiful waters and lived to tell how beautiful it was! It seems there that life is an adventure that’s meant to be not only taken in stride, but enjoyed each and every day! Second, I know I need to get back to reading Scriptures and spend time in prayer and meditation to connect with God…and to thank Him and praise Him for all of the many blessings I have received of late. And last but not least, I hope to reach out to others who are less fortunate and to friends or family members who may be struggling…or at least let them know I care. I believe that now the US presidential election is over, we can can truly – as individuals and as a nation – move forward, putting all of the silly ballot recounts and protests behind to focus on what really matters: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14).  Let it begin with me.

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All God’s Children

united-globeAs this recent US election draws to a close, I think we all need our thoughts to turn not only to unity as a country, but unity with the world as a whole. I am especially mindful of this as I have plans to travel half-way around the world to Australia. I believe we Americans have a tendency to focus on ourselves and our own fortune, happiness and even problems…and not be concerned about what others around the globe struggle with, and how very much we are all dependent upon one another. The internet has definitely helped make us all become more globally aware. It amazes me that I have “friends” from Africa and India on Facebook, people I have actually met at conferences such as the National Religious Broadcasters conference this past February in Nashville, TN, who I now stay in touch with on social media.  But we also have to be more careful, I think, in this regard…I understand ISIS is trying to infiltrate our country more and more, not only by hacking into people’s computers but by actually calling and texting people’s phones. My heart breaks for everyone trying to escape the evil of ISIS…Muslims and Christians alike in the Middle East, families of young people recruited all over the world, women who are used and abused as sex slaves…the atrocities go on. Hopefully world leaders, with America on board, can work to stop them one day, although the threat is real that if ISIS is stopped, another terrorist regime will step in and replace them. When I started writing my novel, The Runaway Prophet, way back in 2011, ISIS wasn’t event an entity in the news. Of course, the Muslim Brotherhood was, anther radical terrorist organization that gave rise in part to ISIS. I write fiction, and imagined over five years ago, ‘what would happen if these terrorists actually lived and worked underground in Las Vegas, running the city and meanwhile, building a nuclear bomb under one of the casinos?’ And now, truth is just as strange (and awful) as fiction it appears. Now that our election is over, I believe all Americans should be more and more aware of and concerned about the rest of the world, the good and the bad, and be prepared for whatever might happen, no matter who will be leading us into the next four years as president. That’s what St. Paul, who was a proponent in unifying the Gentiles with the Jews in the first century BC, strived to do. “In the same way, even though we are many people, we are one body in Christ and individual parts connected to each other.” (Romans 12:5) Dear Lord, please let us all strive to care for one another throughout the world, no matter what our nationality, color or creed…help us all to use our individual gifts to help heal the world.

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presseal“All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” (Helen Keller) We have had a week to deal with the disappointment surely half of all Americans faced, and may still be grappling with,  at the outcome of the US presidential election. And now the same people feeling this way must move on, working with the other half in unity and peace, pulling together as “one nation under God.” Because that is what America does.  To do otherwise, to hold onto anger and resentment, is surely harmful to oneself and to the world around us. I encourage everyone to let go of any grudges, resentments and fears and have faith and hope that this country will pull together and be the leader God intended it to be. And more importantly, for each and every individual to have and hold peace and good will toward all in their hearts, for the sake of others…and for their own sake. Because God really is on the throne and  in control. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:23) Perhaps, for a moment, try turning off the television, radio, computer and phone…and opening your Bible. If you don’t have a favorite passage, open it at random…the right passage meant for you will most likely appear! And hold it in your heart, meditating on it and letting it give you comfort and peace. I write this so that I too will follow it…I write “Modern Day Bible Stories,”novels full of suspense and romance but based on Old Testament stories in the Bible. I don’t randomly choose which ones, usually God puts the next story on my heart (which is how the whole idea to write this type of book came about…when God tapped me on the shoulder and said “Michele, write a modern-day novel based on the Book of Job.”) I now look back and see He was helping me through some “Job-like” trials and tribulations…and calling me to help others relate to His messages in the Bible through contemporary fiction. But I have to do the work…which includes reading, researching and studying the Bible – and applying it to my own life. Today I pray we all find God’s message in the Bible to guide us through this challenging time.

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November 14, 2016 · 6:33 am

Vote in Faith, not Fear

new-election-day-2016jpg“I don’t want to vote for either candidate, they both scare me.” If we had a dollar for every person who said that to us about tomorrow’s US presidential election, we’d all have pocketfuls of spending money. Some people are choosing not to vote at all. Some are voting for the “lesser of two evils” but still fear the outcome. But I believe not only should all Americans vote tomorrow, they should do so in faith that the candidate they choose will lead our country into a brighter tomorrow. Now I’m usually an optimist, but even I got sucked into that fear cycle for a while…up until the last few days when I decided to be positive about the election and simply vote for the candidate I believe stands the way I stand on the issues: in my case, for the right to life vs. right to choose, for legal immigration (and banning illegal immigration, or anything illegal for that matter), for upholding law and order by fully supporting our police and military, for working to obliterate the evil force that is ISIS, and for helping people get jobs so that they feel they have purpose and are contributing to society instead of just taking from it. Forget the personalities (every person is a sinner, even and perhaps especially politicians who have some of the biggest egos). And no matter who wins and who loses tomorrow, we must then have faith that God has a plan for that leader who is chosen, for America, and for each of us, no matter what. Yes, He gave us free will, and yes that will is faulty. But God will always be there for us. Look at the story of Saul and David in the First Book of Samuel (on which my newly republished novel, The Peace Maker, is based). It’s a fascinating, exciting plot in which Saul is originally chosen by the people to be King, but fails miserably; the prophet Samuel then chooses David to follow Saul as King, and the people love him. But Saul, full of anger, jealousy and resentment, doesn’t step down without a fight, chasing David into the hills to try to kill him. Of course David does eventually become King, but not without a lot of struggles and challenges. And even he makes some huge mistakes. Does it all work out in the end? Of course, because David begets the royal line that leads to Jesus. But the story is a prime example that nothing in our human world is ever easy or perfect…we must live with our choices, but have faith that God will save all of us in the end, as long as we choose to follow His Will each day to the best of our abilities. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer 19:11) I pray we all leave our fears at the door as we walk into the voting booths tomorrow, confident all we be well.

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