Tag Archives: grace

Messages From God

God sends people messages in many forms—through things, gestures, miracles, tragedies, and others (friends, family, and strangers). How people receive God’s messages depends on their mindset.

For instance:

  • Some have never heard about God; they are not aware of Him, so they don’t understand the source of the messages.
  • Some say God doesn’t exist; they are aware, but choose to deny God and His messages.
  • Some think they are too busy; they receive the messages, but  do not take the necessary time to listen.
  • Some receive the messages but simply choose to ignore them.
  • Some believe, listen, and understand God’s messages and choose to follow Him, spreading His word to others.

Each person who has heard God’s words has the right to choose whether or not they believe in Him. Unlike many false gods, God, the creator of all things, does not force anyone to believe, listen, or follow Him. It is the responsibility of those who do believe to serve as modern-day disciples by spreading His word to those who deny or are unaware of His love and grace.

Once informed of God, people have a decision to make—follow or ignore Him. Those who try to spread His word must then move on and continue to serve Him by informing others. The mission of Believers is to spread His word to others, not force them to transform. Transformation is between God and the newly informed; they will be dealt with according to His will.

JesusToldHim2

Do you have what it takes to be one of God modern-day disciples? If you do, you will become a fisher of men.

Matthew 4:19 (KJV)

And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Tom Tatum – Author – May 1, 2017

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

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Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

THIS DAY IS DONE

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THIS DAY IS DONE

Although this day is done,

Each hour was filled with fun.

I’m sad to say goodbye,

But really don’t know why.

 

If God gives me one more,

I’ll feel blessed to my core.

But should this be my last,

I thank Him for  my past.

 

I tried to served Him well;

His word I sought to tell.

When He judges my soul,

His hand I pray to hold.

 

If you feel the same way,

You know of what I say.

If His light shines through you,

Others may know Him too.

 

Blessings to you and yours,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

 LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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EVIL DEEDS AND THE PALLBEARER LIST

Have you ever had someone deliberately commit evil deeds that harmed you or someone in your family? I don’t mean petty things that might annoy you from time to time. No, I’m referring to evil deeds that alter your life in a very negative way. If so, you probably experienced some anger that may have even escalated into rage.

So, what should we do when such evil deeds come our way? Should we seek revenge to get even or offer forgiveness and move on? How can we control our rage in a way that prevents us from doing something we may live to regret?

Obviously, there are many options available, but this post highlights one method that falls somewhere in the broad spectrum between seeking revenge and forgiving. It helps control the rage that is a normal reaction to evil deeds. The idea comes from a man I’ll refer to as John. He definitely marches to the beat of a different drum and is not afraid to think outside the box in pursuit of solutions.

I met John many years ago when we were next-door neighbors. He was in his early forties and I was in my late twenties at the time. We spent many hours discussing topics ranging from the weather to hot-button-political events while standing by the wooden fence that separated our backyards. Naturally, we had solutions for all of the world’s problems.

This reminds me of the Tool Time sitcom where characters, Tim and Wilson, had many discussions while standing on opposite sides of a wooden fence.

talkingoverfence

During one of our wisdom-sessions by the fence, I shared some details about a situation one of my relatives had recently experienced as a defendant in a civil suit. I described how the plaintiff’s prosecutor used very underhanded tactics and false-malicious rhetoric about my relative in the closing arguments to sway the jury and ultimately win the case. What made this difficult for me was there was a time in life when I considered said prosecutor to be my friend.

As I listened to the prosecutor grandstanding at my relative’s expense, my anger toward him quickly escalated to rage. I wanted to seek revenge, but my thoughts on how to go about it would only make the situation much worse—for me. To put it mildly, I was in a quandary as to what I should or could do.

As I explained the details of the court case, John maintained a pensive expression, but said nothing. When I finished my monologue, he proceeded to tell me the method he uses to control his rage.

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“Tom, I’m glad you haven’t done anything dramatic yet because I prefer talking to you over the fence and not through the bars of a jail cell. At the same time, I also know how you feel. It’s hard to deal with rage in a calm-peaceful manner, but it’s not impossible. 

“Life is complicated. There are many people willing to do nice things for us and seriously want to help in any way they can. I call them the good folks. We should cherish them. Unfortunately, there are also people who will stab you in the back and rejoice when they harm you. I refer to them as the evil folks. They seem to have no conscience and allow their love of money or other misplaced-evil values to influence their actions. They are willing do anything to win. 

“You and I both believe in a loving God and know what He wants us to do when we face such situations. The prosecutor may also believe in God, but he seems to have succumbed to the earthly ways of evil. The Lord will judge all of us by the things we say and do. 

“Like you, I’ve had people do evil deeds not only to me, but also to members of my family. Rather than trying to get even with them, I realized long ago that the best thing for me to do was to create a list. I call it my Pallbearer List.

“So, what is my Pallbearer List?

pallbearerlist

“Well, it’s simple. When someone does something evil to me or my family, I place their name, date, and what they did on a list. It’s my passive means of holding people accountable for their actions. It helps me control my rage toward them by allowing me to put the person and the evil they did out of my mind, which prevents me from doing something crazy by trying to get even. In essence, they become ‘non-people’ in my life—I still love them, but I no longer like or care to be around them. They simply no longer exist in my little corner of the world. 

“As I said before, the Lord will make final judgement on all of us. There’s no need for me to stoop to their low-evil ways, so I try to take the high road. Besides, God teaches us to love our neighbor, but He doesn’t say we have to like them or the things they do. 

“I can see by your expression that you’re wondering if your name is on my list, and you’re also probably wondering what happens to people who are on the list.

“First of all, you’re not on the list—not yet! 

“Secondly, nothing happens to them, at least not until my death. I don’t hire a ‘hit squad’ to take them out, nor do I perform any hoodoo-voodoo rituals on them. I actually wish them well and even say a prayer on their behalf. Upon my death, each person on my Pallbearer List will receive a personal invitation from me—prewritten of course. The invitation asks each of them to serve as either a pallbearer or honorary pallbearer at my funeral, depending on the nature of the evil deed they committed. The invitation also serves to remind them of their evil deed(s). 

“I look at it this way. It may be the first time some of them ever set foot in a church. I’m simply reminding them of their evil deeds, which also gives each of them a chance to ask for forgiveness and repent before their final day of judgement. It’s my last opportunity to serve God before they place my body beneath the grass. 

“The list also provides a special bonus for me. The most evil of those on the list will serve as pallbearers and carry my casket to the grave. Consider it “poetic justice” with a touch of grace and forgiveness.

casketbw

“I bet you’re also wondering if my Pallbearer List has actually helped me control my rage.

“Absolutely! Had I not found a means to control my anger—my rage, you’d be talking to me through the bars of a jail-cell right now. That simple list has prevented me from doing some ill-advised things over the years. 

“You see, rage is a powerful force that can lead people to commit acts they may regret for the rest of their lives. There are times when getting even is just not worth the consequences.”

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As I stated in the beginning, John thinks outside the box. Sometimes, his unusual ideas actually have merit. Who knows, his Pallbearer List may very well be one of them.

So, are you going to think outside the box and consider using a Pallbearer List or similar method to help you control your anger—your rage? No matter what you do, I hope the method you choose works well because life is much better talking to others while standing beside the fence.

Have a great day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2016

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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THE WRONG QUESTION

It was a time in life long ago in a land far away when I first asked The Wrong Question. The year was 1974; I was a twenty-five-year-old first lieutenant in the USAF. My eighteen-month assignment to the small, remote village of Woomera, South Australia was just two weeks from ending when the fragility of life knocked on my door. The events that transpired in those final days rocked the foundation of my faith.

SouthAustralia

WoomeraVilliageTwit

My pregnant wife and one-year-old daughter accompanied me to the Australian outback. We felt it was a great opportunity for us to experience life abroad. The scenery, unusual wildlife, and the Aussie people we met did not disappoint us. We were on top of the world, figuratively speaking, in the land down under, where kangaroo-crossing signs stood along the roadside as a warning to drivers. My second daughter was even born in Woomera, which is story in itself for another time.

KangarooCrossing

Although we had enjoyed living in Australia for seventeen months, we were excited about returning home to the States—just two weeks remained. Suddenly, without any warning, our happy little world came crashing down around us. Our three-year-old daughter started having difficulty breathing during the wee hours of the night. I carried her in my arms to the small hospital because we had recently sold our car. In the few minutes it took to walk there, her difficulty breathing appeared to be getting much worse. I was in ultra-panic mode!

When the doctor examined her, he said there was nothing he could do for her in Woomera. The remote medical facility was simply not equipped to handle someone in her critical condition. What? Critical? She was perfectly fine when she went to bed! The doctor offered little hope that she would survive; his facial expression alarmingly displayed his sense of desperation. Typical of most fathers, I would have given anything to change places with my daughter, but that was not an option.

Australian Flying DrThe Flying Doctor Service airlifted my daughter to a civilian hospital located in the city of Adelaide, over three-hundred miles away. I became even more frustrated when told I couldn’t accompany her on the flight. This was definitely the scariest experience of my young life, but things were going to get worse.

Things were happening extremely fast—my head was spinning! I tried to gather my wits in efforts to figure out how I could get us to Adelaide. First, I humbled myself and asked the young Australian couple if I could borrow the car I had just sold them, which they graciously allowed me to do. Then we had to find someone to keep our second daughter while we were in Adelaide for an unknown duration. A neighbor quickly obliged. Next came getting permission from my commanding officer to allow me to go to Adelaide, which he did without hesitation.

We began the long-slow journey not knowing what we would find when we arrived at the hospital. Ahead of us was eighty miles of dirt road before we reached a small two-lane-paved road outside of Port Augusta that would lead us into Adelaide. We were scared and felt helpless knowing our daughter was in the hospital gasping for each breath. We had many hours to reflect on our situation.

We started asking “WHY” God would allow something like this happen to our precious daughter. She was just an innocent little girl who had done nothing wrong. Then we wondered “WHY” God would punish her for something we may have done. We started questioning our faith and belief in God at a time when we needed Him most. WHYThe question “WHY” kept entering our conversation, but we continued praying. Fear of the unknown was consuming us with each mile we travelled. We kept asking “WHY” He would allow something like this happen to our daughter. WHY?!! WHY?!!

When we arrived at the hospital, a nurse escorted us to the ICU area. The sight we saw was one I’ll never forget. My daughter was still with us, but there were tubes and monitors all around her; she was fighting hard to stay alive. We didn’t know if her next breath would be her last, and prayed that it wouldn’t. The fear of losing our precious child was overwhelming.

Our daughter was in the hands of total strangers in a land halfway around the world from our native land. There were no friends, family, or military personnel to comfort us; we were all alone in a great big world. We prayed; we doubted; we bargained; we prayed harder, asking God to spare our daughter and return her to good health. We were completely exhausted from lack of sleep, food, and the mounting fear—we were numb!

PrayingHands

News of the clear and present danger a young American couple was facing with their child spread throughout the hospital. A pastor came by to prepare us for what might happen. Still searching for answers, we asked him our “WHY” questions.

He responded with the gentle kindness of a man of cloth and reminded us that asking God “WHY” was the wrong question. People have and will continue to ask such questions, but no human possesses the wisdom to answer them. We have to accept the cliché that “sometimes, bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people” for reasons known only to God. We must remain steadfast in our faith and place all of our burdens in God’s hands—we should never stop believing and praying. We won’t always get what we pray for because God knows what’s best for us. He has plans for each of us and is always there for us. He reveals His plans to us in His perfect timing.

To say we felt wonderful after talking to the pastor would be a bit dishonest, but he did give us a thread of hope. We continued to pray numerous times each day. More than a week passed before our daughter started improving and ultimately recovered. A true blessing!

To this day, we do not know the answers to our “WHY” questions, but we thank God for sparing our daughter. We have received many blessings from Him since that experience and understand God’s gift of grace. Our faith has grown stronger.

I share this story with the knowledge that many parents ask the same “WHY” questions but don’t always experience the same outcome we did. I know many parents who have lost a child, and my heart goes out to each of them. Having come close to losing my child, I can only imagine how difficult it was for them to move forward with their lives. What I do know is that those who do move on have true faith in God; their knowledge of His love is a blessing that some may never come to understand.

Life can change in a flash, but those who believe and have true faith in God are equipped to handle whatever challenges come their way. They know they Never Walk Alone!

Never Walk Alone Twit

Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Romans 8:28 (NIV) 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor   LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Feeling Blessed

Feeling Blessed

There are those among us who are making a difference in the lives of young people. I am truly thankful for those who do, and feel blessed when I hear about them. The following event will likely warm your heart.

Two of my grandsons are on the high school varsity football team. They have been practicing or strength training almost every day this summer. The evidence of their hard work is obvious by looking at their new physiques. However, what I am most proud of is the story they shared with me this week.

After a hot, exhausting football session Monday morning, a group of seven players, including my two grandsons, went to lunch at a local diner they had PrayingHandsnever been to. After their food arrived at the table, they blessed the meal before starting to eat. As hungry as they were, that’s truly amazing in itself. There were no coaches or parents around encouraging them to do this. They acted completely on their own.

Glad you can’t see me right now because I’m doing a “happy-dance” as I type this post! Trust me, it’s not a pretty sight, and I can assure you, “America’s Got Talent” is not likely to have me audition for the show. However, there are more reasons for me to be dancing.

What these players didn’t realize was others in the diner at the time noticed their open expression of faith. A gentleman walked over to their table and gave each of them a gold-colored coin with a cross and a dove on it. He told them he wanted to give it to them because they weren’t afraid to thank God in a public place. He blessed them and then left the diner.

Coins 2

The inscription on the cross side of the coin reads, “Mercy is when God spares you what you do deserve.” The inscription on the dove side reads, “Grace is when God gives you what you don’t deserve.

The story continues—as they tried to pay for their meals, the server told them the couple sitting at a nearby table had already paid the entire bill. They thanked the couple for their kindness and left the diner. The small gesture of their faith had touched the lives of others in a positive way.

The excitement in their voices as they told me the story was uplifting. They did not know the individuals who had expressed the acts of kindness. It is comforting to know that my grandsons and their friends are doing this, and kind people are going out of their way to reinforce the beliefs of our youth. It may take me a while before I stop doing my “happy-dance” for many reasons. I am so encouraged by stories like this.

God bless those strangers, the players, and all who are not afraid to show their faith in public.

Have a blessed day and give thanks before you start eating your meals—you can be God’s light to others also.

May God continue to bless America!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor         LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Charleston Strong

ChangeThisToThis

I have never before experienced A Time In Life when I was more proud to be a South Carolinian and yet feel such overwhelming sadness also. The range of emotions created by the horrible event that took the lives of nine Christians last week in a Charleston, SC church covers the full spectrum.

I’m saddened because one man was so full of evil that he chose to go into a church and visit for an hour before killing nine people who had welcomed him to join them. It makes me want to ask the question, “Why would God allow this to happen in His house?” However, I know that is the wrong question. I also know the reasons for this tragedy may never be fully understood, but through my faith, I realize the event will serve a greater purpose.

I’m proud how the families of the victims have responded with such amazing grace as a testament of their true faith and belief in God. They have forgiven an accused murderer of their family members and have asked him to repent for his sins. They want him to find the Lord so he may have everlasting life through the grace of God. In their time of great sorrow, they have shined a bright light on South Carolina and our nation. The character and faith of these Christians should serve as beacon for all to follow.

I am proud how South Carolinians have joined together in peaceful events in Charleston and throughout our great state. The blue and white images have become icons across all social media platforms to show a united outpouring of love. This love has now spread around the world.

I pray for the victims to rest in peace in God’s house of many mansions, and for their families to find comfort and understanding as they continue to spread His word through their thoughts, words, and deeds. I pray that our nation will stand united by this tragedy and God continues to bless America. Amen.

Tom Tatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum