Tag Archives: Lord

LIFE’S STORMS AND RAINBOWS

You or someone you know will likely suffer the wrath of storms at some point in life. I’ve experienced them—as a victim and as a witness to the struggles of others. Storms play a significant role in our lives, no matter where we are on our journey.

The storms we experience during the Christmas season tend to magnify the pain of our agony because many of the people we see scurrying about are feeling cheerful and merry, which is wonderful for them, but does little to bring happiness to us.

It’s natural during the midst of our storms that we find it hard to look on the brighter side and realize better days are to come—hopefully, sooner rather than later. However, that’s exactly what we should do because, in addition to the turbulent waters, every storm in life also brings a rainbow—a sign of good that is to come—peace.

Unfortunately, we often miss seeing the rainbow because we are temporarily too focused on the storm and continue to struggle. Most of us often ask, “Why me, Lord?” when we should really be asking, “Lord, how do You want me to use this storm to serve You.”

So, with this in mind, I want to share this RAINBOW BLESSING with each of you—family, friends, connections, and followers in hopes all your storms are small and your rainbows are bright.

RAINBOW BLESSING

May All Your…

…fears fade into courage.

…hopes blossom into reality.

…doubts turn into good results.

…efforts strengthen your faith.

…storms end with rainbows.

…deeds bring others joy.

…efforts give you peace.

…days be bright!

May God bless you and yours with rainbows during this CHRISTmas season and give you a Happy New Year!

Peace,

Tom Tatum – 2017

Writer, Author, Blogger

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

YOUR FOLDER

A vision came to a man during the night as he lay sleeping. He travelled a great distance through the darkness to a place he did not know. Breaking through the darkness, he saw a building bathed in bright light and came to rest before a man standing in front of a huge door.

Upon his arrival, the man greeted him and said, “Welcome to Heaven’s Repository. I’m glad you accepted my invitation to visit with me today. I have much to share with you,” as he opened the door to a long hallway containing rows of file cabinets.

HeavensRepository

“What invitation? Who are you? Where am I? Why am I here?” questioned the confused man.

“My son, you have many questions, so allow me to answer each one. My name is Zack; I’m an angel who watches over you. This is a time in life when we review all good deeds you have done for others. We must see if you are worthy of a room in God’s house of many mansions. Consider this a status check on the life you’ve lived to this moment.”

“Zack… Zack, I don’t understand—a status check?” the man asked with a wrinkled brow.

“My son, this place contains files for every person on earth,” as he extended his arm in the direction of a long corridor lined with cabinets. “When a person’s “Good Deeds” folder contains too few entries, an alarm is sounded to alert the angels who operate the repository. It is then we invite the person to visit us for a consultation of sorts. However, I must warn you—this is the only opportunity you will have to make necessary adjustments before your days on earth are no more. I suggest you heed this warning and take appropriate actions to bring about satisfactory changes in your life. You would be wise to do so.”

“What? You mean I’m here because my Good Deeds folder has too few entries? My file set off an alarm in heaven!?! But Zack, I’ve been a good person all my life. I go to church, read the Bible, love my family, work hard, I…”

Tapping his index finger on his lips in a gesture requesting silence, Zack interrupted saying, “Enough of your declarations regarding the good things you do. Indeed, you do many good things, but they do not represent good deeds. Good deeds are things done from your heart. The ones that matter most are those performed secretly, for God’s eyes only, while not seeking praise and honor from those around you. Let us look at your folder and we shall see all your good deeds,” as he motioned for the man to follow him.

Walking past many cabinets, Zack finally stopped in front of one at the far end of the hall. The drawer marked “Ben Taylor” had a bright-red light flashing beside the name.

FileCabineBenTaylor

Ben’s heart began beating rapidly with anticipation as Zack slowly pulled the drawer open and retrieved a manila folder labelled “Good Deeds of Ben Taylor.” Zack opened the folder, removed a single sheet of paper, and placed it in Ben’s hands. He then told Ben to read the entries listed on the page.

FileFolderBenTaylor

“Zack, this page is blank—I see only my name at the top! Surely, you have more papers in the folder for me to see. Please show me all the good deeds I’ve done for others!”

“Ben, there is only one page in your folder at present; it cites all the good deeds you have done for others. Thus the reason for the alarm I mentioned to you earlier.”

Ben’s shoulders slumped as he quickly tried to remember all the good deeds he had performed. The core of his being started aching when nothing came to mind. “Zack, I see another folder in my drawer also marked ‘Good Deeds.’ That folder is very thick and appears to contain numerous papers. Surely, my good deeds appear in that folder! Zack, I don’t wish to sound rude, but I think you selected the wrong folder. Please show me the second folder.”

“My son, I will gladly show you all the papers in the second folder, but they are the deeds done FOR you and NOT BY you. Your friends, family, and strangers performed many of these good deeds for you, but most came to you from your Father in heaven. They represent all the times God blessed you and forgave you for your many sins. God loves you and His grace is more than you can ever imagine. He wants you to love and do unto others in the same way He loves and does unto you.”

Ben fell to his knees and began weeping a river of tears. Sadness filled his heart as reality shined its bright light upon his life. “The good deeds in my life came TO me from others and not from me doing good deeds FOR others,” he thought while hiding his face from Zack.

Placing his hands on Ben’s shoulders, Zack spoke softly saying, “Rise, my son. I see that you are truly sorry for your past actions—the opportunities when you failed to act. Therefore, I’ll give you a chance to change your ways if you choose to do so. Return to your world with a renewed heart and start serving your Lord the way He would have you do. Spread His love by doing good deeds for others and be a blessing to them, for if you do these things and truly believe in Him, you will have a place for all eternity in God’s house of many mansions.”

When Ben awakened the next morning, his mind was clear and his heart felt warmed by the light from above. He kneeled beside his bed and started praying aloud, “Lord, today I wish to start anew. I have many things yet to do and no time to waste. From this day forward, I will serve You. I will follow the path You have placed before me, and I will gladly help others I encounter along my journey. I will not seek praise and honor from others, only You. By Your grace, I have another chance and with Your help, I will not falter. Amen.”

What does your “Good Deeds of Your Name” folder contain? Is there more than one sheet of paper in your folder? Is the folder thick with many entries? I hope your folder already contains many pages. If not, what are your plans for the future? Do you want to make any changes? Are you going to start making changes now or wait for the alarms in heaven to summon you?

FileFolderGoodDeedsYour

It’s all up to you. Don’t wait to receive that call for a consultation with your angel. Be blessed by helping others encountered along your journey in faith. You can start by flashing a warm smile to a stranger, offering encouraging words to someone who is down, providing aid to those who are less fortunate, and so many other opportunities too numerous to name. For each good deed you do, you have another entry placed in the “Good Deeds” folder bearing your name. Fill it up…

Bible

James 2:14-17 (NIV)

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

MY OOOPS MOMENT

I had the unexpected honor to serve as an usher at the funeral of a friend on Tuesday September 8, 2015. Another gentleman ushered with me, but neither of us knew exactly what we were supposed to do. Do you sense a problem on the horizon?!?

Aisle

A nice lady told us there were three reserved sections up front and we needed to ask each person, “Are you with the family, SS class, or tennis group?” We asked and then directed people to the proper reserved section. That turned out to be the easy part of our duties, except for the looks people gave us when we asked the question. The church started filling rapidly, but there were enough seats available.

The family would be entering the sanctuary shortly. That’s when the pastor told me he wanted the ushers to light the candles on the altar and the one by the pulpit. I asked the other usher if he wanted to do it, but he declined. Therefore, yours truly had to do it. Sounds simple, right?

First, I had to find the official candle-lighter-stick thingy—done. Oh, but what about the butane lighter needed to light the candle lighter? Frantic search ensued and I finally found the lighter and lit the candle lighter. Now, all I had to do was walk down the aisle and light three candles. Easy, right? Did I mention that I’m a gray-haired-old man who wears bifocals? Hmmm, the plot suddenly thickens!

Candles

I started walking down the “ten-mile” long aisle toward the altar and the flame kept trying to go out. I paused to keep the flame glowing—many times, I paused! I finally got to the altar, bowed my head in prayer, and then lit the two candles with no problem. I turn toward the tall candle by the pulpit, and guess what? I couldn’t see the candlewick. The last person who extinguished the candle had pressed the wick flat. Great!!! This is going to be fun, I thought. At last, the candle started burning—that’s one small feat for a “professional” acolyte, but one giant leap for a gray-haired-old man. Old man then sighs at the sight of the flame flickering away. Success!

All I had left to do to complete my “extremely complicated” lighting task was return to the altar, bow in prayer, turn around, and walk back down the “ten-mile” aisle beyond the sight of two-hundred people. Easy, right?!? Well, not exactly! Here’s when the ooops moment occurred.

Remember those bifocals I wear. Well, they make walking down steps “be like” tough at times—this was one of those times! I turned, took three steps away from the altar, but thought I had to take four. At least that’s what it looked like. The line in my bifocals was hiding the all-important first step. My foot went down expecting to find the hardwood floor of the level platform, but what it found was nothing but air—an entire step-high distance of air!

Steps

Picture an old man walking proudly along and suddenly missing the first of three steps. What followed was an acrobatic, less than graceful attempt to maintain my balance while holding the lighted candle lighter in front of two-hundred people. Arms and legs went flying in four different directions.

After flying through the air for what seemed like several minutes, I somehow missed two steps completely and landed upright on both feet; I think the Lord definitely reached out His loving hands and kept me from falling spread-eagle on the floor. Thank goodness He did! I bowed to the crowd as if nothing had happened and said, “Ooops!” as two-hundred peopled laughed and clapped at my awkward, but successful gymnastic display.

Do you know how loud two-hundred people laughing and clapping in a quiet sanctuary can be? Take my word for it; it’s deafening!!! Thank goodness, the family members were not in the sanctuary at the time of my “ooops” moment. The ungraceful fall was bad enough, but the comments I heard during the reception… well, I’ll leave them to your imagination.

Into each life a little fall will come, and it will usually happen when you least expect it!

The point of this embarrassing personal experience is to show that the Lord is always there for us—in our big moments, as well as the little moments in our lives. When we place our fears in His hands, He puts His arms around us and helps us land on our feet when we fall. Have faith and trust in HIM; He will keep you upright on your path.

Be blessed…

Proverbs 24-16 (NIV)

… for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.

Ezekiel 3:24 (NIV)

Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me…

Psalms 134:2 (NIV)

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

THROUGH THE EYES OF MY HEART

During my teen and young adult years, my mind sometimes ignored things my eyes saw. Back then, my little corner of the world was the most important thing to me, and there didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for anything else. As the years continued to pass, I managed to grow in wisdom and now see similar things, but in a different way—through the eyes of my heart.

EyesBW

You see, there was a time in life when I thought my family was at the center of the universe. I was living in a “me-me-me” world of selfishness, like many folks tend to do at times. I thought I was a good person, but there were times when I complained about insignificant things in life like:

  • being uncomfortable while sleeping in my own bed on a cold-winter’s night… then I saw a homeless man sleeping on a park bench wearing tattered clothes and no shoes
  • wearing glasses to restore my vision to 20/20… then I saw a blind man who was wearing a smile upon his face while whistling a cheerful tune as he walked by
  • my old aching legs… then I saw a man who had no legs, yet he was laughing while playing catch in the yard with his son
  • forgetting little, insignificant things… then I spoke to a friend who no longer remembers my name or the good times we once shared

I could continue my list of shallow complaints, but I’m sure you get the point. There are folks around us who are less fortunate than many of us, yet they are not complaining.

As I reflect on my poor-pitiful-me complaints, I have deep regrets for missing the opportunities I had to help others. A simple smile, kind gesture, or just saying hello could have made a small difference in someone’s day. I now see the plight of others with my heart and my mind understands how fortunate I am. I have so many blessings to be thankful for—far too numerous to count. Though some may seem small, each is a gift from God, and definitely much more than I deserve. I am truly blessed!

Now, I pray—Lord, I am grateful for the many gifts You have bestowed upon me. I ask that You give me the strength, courage, and desire to extend a helping hand to others who are in need while asking nothing of them in return. Help me to be a better person, and allow me to shine Your light upon others. For no matter the hurdles I encounter along my path, cheerfully supporting others I see on my journey is one of the greatest blessings I could ever receive. Amen.

HelpingHand

Acts 20:35 (NIV)

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

John 3:17 (NIV)

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels

WHO AM I

WHO AM I is a wonderful YouTube musical video (w/lyrics) by Casting Crowns that was posted four years ago by Chabel1982. The music, lyrics, and photos touched me, so I wanted to share it with you. I think it is well worth your time and feel sure it will touch you also. Sit back, relax, turn up the volume, and click on the link!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBcqria2wmg

WhoAmI

Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor

LinkedIn: TomTatum1

Facebook page: Tom Tatum novels