Echoes of a Dream

In the echoes of a dream, where freedom rings,
A melody of justice, where each heart sings.
Martin Luther King Jr., a beacon so bright,
Guiding us towards a world, bathed in light.

“It’s about character over color,” he declared,
A vision of unity, a dream we’ve shared.
Beyond the hues that paint our skin,
Let character’s radiance truly begin.

No shackles of bias, no chains of strife,
But a celebration of the essence of life.
In the tapestry of humanity, colors blend,
Character’s the thread that binds, my friend.

Let judgments be not based on shade,
But on the kindness in actions displayed.
For in each soul, a unique story unfolds,
A tale of character, a narrative to be told.

May the canvas of perception be ever clear,
With understanding and empathy near.
No divisions by color, no lines to sever,
In unity, we cherish, in character, forever.

So, let the legacy of Martin Luther King endure,
In the spirit of love, equality, and more.
A world where character triumphs over the hue,
For in unity and justice, dreams come true.

The Power of S.W.A.G.

In a world packed with challenges and uncertainties, there’s this epic force called grace—God’s favor and compassion that flip life’s script. It’s the ultimate game-changer, offering comfort, redemption, and a roadmap to a life packed with meaning.

Picture this: a tee shouting “SWAG – Saved With Abundant Grace.” Beyond a catchy line, it’s a daily nod to God’s boundless love for His squad. That tee? It’s more than threads; it’s a shoutout to grace that can light up every nook of our lives.

The Bible? It’s the plug for wisdom, and it’s all about grace’s epic perks:

Ephesians 2:8-9: “Saved by grace, not by your hustle—it’s God’s gift, no boasting!” Grace isn’t about what we do; it’s about what God gives.

2 Corinthians 12:9: “When you’re feeling low, grace’s got your back.” It’s power in your weakest moments.

Romans 5:20: “Sin’s got nothing on grace—it’s always got your six.” No matter the mess-ups, grace is bigger.

Titus 2:11: “Grace is for everyone, no VIPs.” It’s a worldwide invite to grace’s game-changing party.

James 4:6: “Stay humble, get more grace.” Being real opens the grace floodgates.

The Bible’s stacked with stories showing grace in action. Like Saul becoming Paul—from Christian-hater to grace preacher. That’s a whole 180!

Rocking that “SWAG – Saved With Abundant Grace” tee? It’s more than a style move; it’s shouting out the real deal. It’s a convo starter, a chance to share how grace flips lives and gets people curious.

So, when you rock that tee, remember the crazy amount of grace we’ve scored. Let it spark a fire to spread that same love around. It’s a shoutout to being thankful for the love we don’t deserve and spreading that game-changing grace vibe.

In a world itching for hope and a comeback story, let’s rep our “SWAG” and show how grace can turn lives around.

The Church Lady

In the heart of a charming town, there was this dynamite church where Mrs. Thompson, the legendary Church Mama, reigned supreme. She had this knack for welcoming kids with open arms and that warm hug that could make your day.

During Sunday school, she’d spin Bible stories like fairy tales, making ’em pop with her animated storytelling. But heaven help the mischief-makers! When things got too rowdy, out came the infamous “Look.” It was a blend of love and warning that could freeze a room quicker than an ice storm.

Off the church grounds, Mrs. Thompson was a superhero, showing up with her magical chicken soup for the sick and comforting families in need. She orchestrated parties and plays that made every kid feel like a star.

And oh, the tales she’d spin! Like the one about rescuing a lost kitten, teaching the gang about kindness and helping others.

Years passed, kids grew up, but Mrs. Thompson’s “Look” stayed etched in their memories. Her lessons of love and faith? They stuck like glue. Her legacy was a big, glowing neon sign of love and kindness, thanks to one awesome Church Mama!

What is the name of your favorite Church Lady? Do you have a precious memory to share? Please do so in the comments below.

Sisters Potluck!

You Were Warned

Introducing our exclusive “Sisters in Christ Potluck” T-shirt, a delightful blend of humor and faith-inspired wisdom!

In a world where patience and temperance are virtues to uphold, this tee serves as a gentle yet powerful reminder. The bold statement, “Don’t Mess With Me. I’ll get my sisters in Christ and we’ll organize a potluck that’ll make you repent for days!”, encapsulates the essence of grace and unity found in Christian sisterhood.

Embracing the spirit of camaraderie and understanding, this shirt draws inspiration from biblical teachings that urge us to exhibit patience and refrain from instigating trouble. In Galatians 5:22-23, the fruits of the Spirit remind us of the importance of exhibiting qualities such as patience, kindness, and self-control.

The design embodies the lighthearted approach to dealing with challenges while exemplifying the strength found in collective support. Proverbs 15:1 echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the power of a gentle response in diffusing situations.

Crafted with premium quality fabric and a comfortable fit, this t-shirt is a stylish addition to your wardrobe, spreading a message of peace, patience, and the joy of communal gatherings. Whether worn casually or to spark conversations, it serves as a beacon of positivity and a testament to the calm and understanding nature we aspire to embody.

Wear it proudly as a reminder to walk in the light, exhibiting the patience and temperance reflective of our Christian values. Let’s join hands as sisters in Christ, fostering unity and understanding in a world that often seeks discord.

Get your “Sisters in Christ Potluck” T-shirt today and spread a message of patience, unity, and the strength found in Christian fellowship!

Thanksgiving in the Face of Opposition

New Orleans: Thanksgiving Amidst Struggles for Freedom

In New Orleans, the historical significance of Thanksgiving for enslaved individuals was a nuanced reflection of their existence amid societal constraints. While the festivity bore semblances to the traditional holiday, it was fraught with limitations and hardships. Families, torn apart by the cruel institution of slavery, often faced ordinances restricting gatherings and imposing fragmented celebrations. Ownership of property or the ability to celebrate freely was a luxury few could afford.

However, amidst these adversities, the resilience of enslaved communities prevailed. Defying restrictions, they clandestinely congregated, cherishing brief moments of unity and spiritual solace. The struggle to reclaim familial bonds and preserve cultural traditions persisted despite the oppressive environment.

The defeat of such policies and restrictions wasn’t immediate, but gradual emancipation and the eventual abolishment of slavery marked pivotal victories. Though challenges persisted for newly freed blacks, the resilience and fortitude exhibited during these Thanksgiving gatherings echoed the enduring spirit of perseverance.

Natchez, Mississippi: A Tapestry of Thanksgiving and Resilience

In Natchez, Thanksgiving for enslaved individuals was interwoven with the fabric of their daily lives under bondage. Ordinances and restrictions often curtailed the expression of familial ties, limiting the joyousness of the occasion. Despite these constraints, slaves sought solace in communal gatherings, sharing meager yet heartfelt meals as an act of solidarity and defiance against their circumstances.

The defeat of oppressive ordinances didn’t happen overnight. It was a culmination of persistent advocacy, resistance, and the tireless pursuit of justice. The gradual shift towards freedom and the acknowledgment of the rights of newly freed blacks marked a turning point, albeit amidst ongoing challenges and struggles.

Memphis, Tennessee: Thanksgiving in the Shadow of Inequality

Memphis, with its history as a major slave market, bore witness to Thanksgiving celebrations fraught with inequality and systemic injustices. Enslaved individuals faced severe limitations in expressing gratitude and gathering with loved ones. The ownership of property or the freedom to celebrate was marred by the specter of oppression.

The defeat of these inequalities was a protracted battle. The Civil War and subsequent Reconstruction era brought transformative changes, yet the fight against discrimination persisted. The slow march toward equality and justice paved the way for significant reforms, underscoring the progress made while acknowledging the ongoing work needed to achieve a more equitable society.

Fugitivism
Escaping Slavery in the Lower Mississippi Valley, 1820-1860 By: S. Charles Bolton Narrated by: Andrew L. Barnes Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins Unabridged Audiobook

Louisiana’s Plantations: Thanksgiving as a Tool for Reflection and Education

Louisiana’s plantations, now transformed into educational museums, serve as poignant reminders of the harsh realities faced by enslaved individuals during Thanksgiving and beyond. These sites facilitate crucial conversations about the legacy of slavery, offering a platform for reflection and education on racial injustice and historical accountability.

The defeat of ignorance and silence came through the acknowledgment of historical truths and the pursuit of comprehensive education. These museums, while not perfect, represent strides toward fostering understanding and dialogue critical for societal progress.

In today’s world, as we gather for Thanksgiving, it’s crucial to reflect on the complex history embedded in these regions. While the state of the union today isn’t without flaws, acknowledging and understanding the struggles faced by those in the past fosters gratitude for the progress made while inspiring continued efforts toward a more equitable and inclusive future.


This exploration aims to connect the historical traditions of Thanksgiving for slaves in each region to contemporary issues, emphasizing the resilience and struggles faced by enslaved individuals and highlighting the ongoing pursuit of justice and equity.

Fugitivism by S. Charles Bolton

Fugitivism: Escaping Slavery in the Lower Mississippi Valley, 1820-1860 By S. Charles Bolton
  • Estimated Length:  10.5 hours
  • Project Budget:  Royalty Share
  • Word Count:  98000
  • Language:  English
  • Distribution:  Exclusive
  • Territories:  World

Winner, 2020 Booker Worthen Literary Prize

During the antebellum years, over 750,000 enslaved people were taken to the Lower Mississippi Valley, where two-thirds of them were sold in the slave markets of New Orleans, Natchez, and Memphis. Those who ended up in Louisiana found themselves in an environment of swamplands, sugar plantations, French-speaking creoles, and the exotic metropolis of New Orleans. Those sold to planters in the newly-opened Mississippi Delta cleared land and cultivated cotton for owners who had moved west to get rich as quickly as possible, driving this labor force to harsh extremes.

Like enslaved people all over the South, those in the Lower Mississippi Valley left home at night for clandestine parties or religious meetings, sometimes “laying out” nearby for a few days or weeks. Some of them fled to New Orleans and other southern cities where they could find refuge in the subculture of slaves and free blacks living there, and a few attempted to live permanently free in the swamps and forests of the surrounding area. Fugitives also tried to return to eastern slave states to rejoin families from whom they had been separated. Some sought freedom on the northern side of the Ohio River; others fled to Mexico for the same purpose.

Fugitivism provides a wealth of new information taken from advertisements, newspaper accounts, and court records. It explains how escapees made use of steamboat transportation, how urban runaways differed from their rural counterparts, how enslaved people were victimized by slave stealers, how conflicts between black fugitives and the white people who tried to capture them encouraged a culture of violence in the South, and how runaway slaves from the Lower Mississippi Valley influenced the abolitionist movement in the North.

Readers will discover that along with an end to oppression, freedom-seeking slaves wanted the same opportunities afforded to most Americans.

New audiobook release coming November 2021!

The Book Break!

What is this series all about?

Gavin Stoutheart’s father the baron is missing, along with Gavin’s brother the heir. He must step up to lead his people as they flee before an invading army.

His only hope is that a combination of prohibited animal magic and his knack for strategy will keep them safe as they make their way through a fractured kingdom with an army on their tail.

Melissa interviews John M. Olsen, an editor for the publisher Immortal Works, and a fantasy author, in this week’s episode of The Book Break.

John has written countless short stories, and a three-book fantasy series, “Riland Throne.” The three books are “Crystal King,” “Crystal Queen,” and “Crystal Empire.” John is also a member of The League of Utah Writers and regularly teaches at conferences.

*This interview was pre-recorded before the COVID-19 outbreak.

John M. Olsen | The Book Break | Season 3 Episode 22

THE FANTASY TRILOGY IS HERE!

AVAILABLE NOW!

NEW RELEASE: Overcoming Gossip

  1. Overcoming Gossip
  2. How Satan, the Accuser of the Brethren, Uses Gossip to Fragment the Body of Christ

Overcoming Gossip takes a serious look at how the “accuser of the brethren” works in partnership with people who gossip to bring down God’s children and keep a spirit of disrespect alive in families, churches, ministries, and communities.

Through true stories gathered from believers, Overcoming Gossip highlights the various types of gossip, as well as many of the common motivations – conscious or unconscious – for negative speech coming from Christians.

Balanced perfectly with God’s love, the author paints a positive picture of hope and discusses the importance of forgiveness. This book provides a comprehensive guide for Christians who want to stop accusing the brethren and learn to live a life of love and grace toward others.

Both inspirational and instructional, the powerful stories are filled with wisdom that is sure to change the way you think and talk.

©2011 Mark D. Michael (P)2020 Destiny Image Audio

“Gossip is like a person who has a picture of you doing something wrong, and each time you seek to move beyond it, they pull out the picture to remind you of your past, thus leaving you feeling inextricably bound to your mistakes.”

The Loudest Whimper!

What would you do in the event of a catastrophe? Where would you go? How would behave? These are only a few questions you might consider pending a nuclear attack. Although the questions are hypothetical, it is worthy of serious consideration. Especially in the midst of a worldwide pandemic that was virtually unknown to most only six months ago. Did you think for one minute that toilet paper would be the most sought after commodity on the market in the first three months of this year? Absolutely not!

So… What would you do?

If you’re not exactly sure… then your probably like Paul in the movie “The Loudest Whimper” written and directed by Anthony Battaglia and narrated by Andrew L Barnes, the voice of Paul.

Who’s Paul? He is cynical as it relates to the question of survival. He’s the kind of guy who won’t try very hard to hang on to a ‘normal and civilized’ lifestyle. As far as he is concerned, if the world blows up tomorrow or annihilated by meteor showers… that’s perfectly fine.

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

~ Ronald Reagan

I am stunned by the number of articles written about the best way to prepare for surviving nuclear fallout. It seems unlikely, but the possibility of nuclear fallout is without a doubt possible. Although none of us want to think about a future tragedy, however, it is very real when you consider terrorism, sudden economic instability, espionage, and a number of other undesirable circumstances.

The Loudest Whimper challenges us to contemplate if only for a few moments, our mindset when faced with pending destruction. Anthony Ballagia does an exceptional job of bringing out a variety of alternatives in a humorous and entertaining way you won’t soon forget.

The Loudest Whimper

The Bible Journal Club

In the quaint town of Serenity Grove, there lived a woman named Emma, whose heart beat in rhythm with the pages of her cherished journal. Emma wasn’t just an avid journaler; she was a devoted member of the Bible Journal Club, a gathering of kindred spirits who shared a passion for delving into the depths of scripture and pouring their hearts onto paper.

Emma’s favorite retreat was a secret garden tucked away behind her ivy-covered cottage. This haven, adorned with blossoming flowers and the gentle murmur of a nearby brook, served as her sacred space for Bible study and introspection. The aged wooden bench beneath the old oak tree cradled her as she opened her Bible, ready to explore the timeless truths within.

One sunny afternoon, the garden came alive with the vibrant presence of Emma’s fellow club members. Each had their unique personality – Sarah, the gentle soul with a penchant for poetic expressions of faith; David, the wise and contemplative elder; and little Lily, the bright-eyed child whose enthusiasm for the Word rivaled that of the adults.

Emma began with Proverbs 23:23, her voice resonating with warmth, “Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline, and understanding.” Her journal entries, adorned with colorful illustrations and heartfelt reflections, transformed scripture into an inviting narrative for everyone present.

As the group explored Matthew 5:7 together, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy,” Sarah shared a touching poem about the beauty of mercy. Emma’s journal became a vessel, not only for her insights but for the diverse expressions of her fellow believers.

Turning to Ephesians 4:31-32, Emma addressed the complex emotions of anger and forgiveness. She recounted personal stories of overcoming anger through the transformative power of God’s forgiveness, prompting nods of understanding from her audience. The garden, once quiet, echoed with the collective heartbeat of those discovering the freedom found in letting go.

The air buzzed with anticipation as Emma shared Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” David, the elder, spoke softly about the comfort he found in God’s nearness during times of pain. Lily, with wide-eyed innocence, asked questions that unveiled the depth of her understanding.

The joy of being a child of God illuminated the gathering as Emma read Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” Little Lily beamed, grasping the profound truth of her identity in Christ.

In moments of Christian devotion, Emma guided the group through Philippians 4:6-7, emphasizing the peace that surpasses understanding. As the sun dipped below the horizon, the flickering candlelight added a sense of sacredness to their shared meditation.

The Bible Journal Club became not only a community of faith but a family bound by the transformative power of God’s Word. Emma’s journal entries were not mere ink on paper; they were living testimonies that resonated with truth, justice, mercy, forgiveness, anger, pain, and the indescribable joy of being children of God.

As the stars adorned the night sky, Emma closed her journal, grateful for the shared journey of faith and the tangible presence of God in their midst. The garden, witness to countless revelations, whispered promises of continued exploration into the mysteries of scripture. The Bible Journal Club, bound by the love of Christ, dispersed into the night, their hearts ablaze with the light of divine truth.

Transformed

In the heart of the ancient city of Jerusalem, Ezra, a seasoned craftsman, worked diligently in his secluded workshop. The rhythmic symphony of chisels and the fragrant scent of freshly carved wood filled the air, creating an atmosphere of craftsmanship and dedication.

One day, as Ezra meticulously shaped a piece of wood, an unfamiliar sound reached his ears – a distant melodic hum carried by the breeze. It was the ethereal melody of a flute echoing through the narrow alleys. The captivating music stirred something within him, sparking a newfound contemplation.

Enveloped in the enchanting tune, Ezra felt a gentle whisper in his heart, urging him to ponder a purpose beyond the confines of his artisanal skills. The melodic notes seemed to carry the weight of a deeper calling, reminiscent of the divine encounters he had read about in the scriptures. The workshop, once filled only with the sounds of craftsmanship, now resonated with the melodies that spurred introspection.

Inspired by the mysterious allure of the flute’s melody, Ezra found himself drawn to the Book of Acts, exploring the transformation of Saul on the road to Damascus. The distant flute became a symbol of divine prompting, prompting Ezra to question the trajectory of his own life.

As sunlight streamed through his workshop’s windows, highlighting the intricate patterns in the wood, Proverbs 4:23 leaped from the pages: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” The flute’s melody lingered in the background, intertwining with the verses, deepening Ezra’s resolve to embark on an inward journey.

Driven by the haunting notes of the flute, Ezra experienced a vivid dream one night. In this dream, a celestial ladder stretched into the heavens, much like Jacob’s encounter in Genesis 28. The enchanting flute played in the background, weaving a narrative of divine connection and transformation, echoing the promise of something greater.

As dawn broke, the melody of the flute guided Ezra into the wilderness, seeking solitude and reflection. The distant sound echoed through the rocky terrain, creating a harmonious backdrop to his contemplation. The flute became a guiding force, leading him to profound insights as he pondered his purpose in the tranquility of the wilderness.

Amidst the ancient scrolls and the scent of aged parchment in his mentor’s dwelling, the haunting notes of the flute lingered. The sage, too, was captivated by the sound, recognizing it as a sign of divine influence. Together, they explored the wisdom of Proverbs, each note of the flute resonating with the passages that unfolded their secrets.

In the quiet moments of dawn, Ezra and his mentor, inspired by the flute’s melodic echoes, uncovered the depths of Proverbs. The rising sun painted hues of orange and pink across the sky, creating a serene ambiance for their discussions. The flute’s influence became intertwined with the wisdom of trusting in the Lord with all their hearts.

A pivotal moment occurred when Ezra stumbled upon a hidden garden, bathed in the soft glow of moonlight. Here, amidst the enchanting flute’s melody, he pondered the story of Nicodemus in John 3, realizing that, like Nicodemus, he sought transformation in the depths of the night.

The culmination of Ezra’s journey unfolded against a backdrop of rolling hills and a radiant sunset, with the distant flute providing a rhythmic backdrop. In this sacred moment, he understood that the flute’s melodic notes were a symbolic call to commitment, as echoed in Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

As Ezra’s narrative unfolded, the haunting melody of the distant flute became the catalyst for his reflective journey, symbolizing a divine influence that propelled him towards transformation and purpose.

The Indispensable Role of Courage in the Christian Journey

Courage, an often overlooked virtue, stands as a cornerstone in the Christian life. In a world where feedback and support are essential, the narrative from Acts 28:1-16 unravels the profound significance of courage in various dimensions of our spiritual expedition.

In the bustling arena of daily life, the longing for affirmation and connection is intrinsic. Similar to a worker craving feedback from their boss, individuals seek validation and assurance in their journey of faith. Paul’s own experiences, marred by adversity and isolation, echo this need for connection. Amidst trials that encompassed years of imprisonment and a tumultuous voyage, Paul’s yearning to meet fellow believers in Rome was not merely a physical desire but a yearning for the courage derived from shared faith.

The crux of courage in the Christian odyssey extends beyond personal encounters. It draws strength from the victories and resilience of others, akin to Paul’s admiration and praise for various Christian communities in his letters. The robust encouragement derived from the support of fellow brethren, as seen in the unwavering commitment of Onesiphorus and the aid from the Philippians, illustrates the profound impact of solidarity in bolstering one’s courage.

Moreover, memories, both fond and inspiring, play an instrumental role in fortifying one’s resolve. The recollection of past associations and their continued dedication to God’s work during trying times, as exemplified by Paul in Philemon, serves as a wellspring of courage amidst personal tribulations.

Surprisingly, courage often emerges unexpectedly, sparked by the fervor and commitment of others who surpass anticipated outcomes. The Macedonians, exceeding Paul’s expectations by not only providing assistance but wholeheartedly dedicating themselves to God’s cause, portray the invigorating effect of unexpected courage.

Indeed, the congregational gatherings in the Christian sphere, while primarily aimed at worship, hold a secondary yet indispensable purpose: the mutual fortification of brethren.

These assemblies serve as the nexus where courage is sown, nurtured, and shared among fellow believers. They offer opportunities to uplift, inspire, and build a repository of memories that continue to embolden one another in the journey of faith.

Therefore, as we traverse our Christian paths, the essence of courage looms large. It thrives in the interconnectedness of believers, in the shared victories and resilience of communities, in the unexpected displays of fervor, and in the remembrance of inspiring memories.

Each act of encouragement, each instance of support, each shared experience becomes a stitch in the fabric of courage that weaves the tapestry of our Christian lives.

As Hebrews 10:23-25 beautifully encapsulates, let us seize every moment to encourage and leave behind memories that fortify the spirits of our brethren on this sacred voyage of faith.

Christian Actions of the Soul

In the quiet echoes of sincere belief,
Where faith resides, undisturbed, and grief,
Christian actions, a symphony so grand,
Speak louder than signals, across the land.

Not in the boastful clamor of the crowd,
But in humble deeds, in silence loud,
A kindness given, a hand that heals,
A love that resonates, the soul it feels.

The virtue signals may fade away,
Yet actions linger, in the light of day,
Compassion woven in each selfless choice,
A melody that uplifts, a soothing voice.

Through valleys low and mountains high,
Christian actions paint the endless sky,
A canvas of grace, strokes of love,
A reflection of the divine above.

No need for grandeur, no need for show,
In the genuine heart, virtues grow,
A living testament, a sacred art,
Where actions speak, a beating heart.

So let the symphony of deeds unfold,
In every story, in every threshold,
For Christian actions, a timeless song,
In whispers of right, they belong.

Jesus is Calling

In the serene town of Harmonyville, where the echoes of diverse stories intertwined, the theme of “Jesus Calling” resonated through the lives of its inhabitants. Each person, with unique backgrounds and walks of life, found themselves answering the call of Jesus in ways that transformed not only their individual journeys but also the collective spirit of Harmonyville.

Grace, the Widow in Hope: Grace, a gentle widow with silver hair that glistened like moonlight, lived a life marked by loss and loneliness. Her days were spent in quiet reflection, tending to her small garden, and finding solace in the memories of her late husband. As she turned the pages of her Bible, the verses from Ephesians 1:17-18 became a source of comfort.

However, a dilemma stirred within her as she grappled with the call to embrace the hope of Jesus. Would she allow her past pain to keep her isolated, or would she step out in faith, risking vulnerability to answer the call and extend love to those in need within the community?

Samuel, the Struggling Laborer: Samuel, a hardworking laborer with calloused hands and a weary spirit, faced the daily grind of life’s challenges. The verse from Acts 24:15 echoed in his mind as he toiled under the scorching sun. The hope of a resurrection, both for the just and the unjust, became a beacon of light in Samuel’s struggles. Yet, a dilemma emerged as he contemplated whether to persevere in his difficult circumstances or succumb to the weariness. The call of Jesus demanded resilience, but would Samuel find the strength to press on and inspire others with his enduring spirit?

Sophia, the Seeker of Truth: Sophia, a young intellectual with a thirst for knowledge, grappled with questions that lingered in the corridors of her mind. The verses from Romans 5:1-2 spoke to her heart, offering a pathway to peace through faith in Jesus Christ. However, a dilemma confronted her as she navigated the tension between intellectual pursuits and spiritual surrender. Would she relinquish the need for complete understanding, trusting in the grace that surpassed her comprehension, or would she remain entangled in the pursuit of knowledge, potentially missing the profound truth of salvation through faith?

Raj, the Immigrant Dreamer: Raj, a hopeful immigrant seeking a better life for his family, carried the weight of dreams and aspirations on his shoulders. The verses from Colossians 1:5 and Titus 1:2 became a source of strength and endurance for Raj. Yet, a dilemma loomed large as he faced the challenges of adapting to a new land.

Would he compromise his values and principles to achieve his dreams, or would he uphold the call of Jesus, choosing a path of integrity and faith even in the face of uncertainty? The immigrant dreamer stood at a crossroads, torn between the pursuit of success and the call to remain true to his beliefs.

In Harmonyville, the collective response to the call of Jesus became a journey fraught with dilemmas, conflicts, and transformative decisions. The town, once a backdrop to individual stories, now bore witness to the struggles and triumphs of those who grappled with the call, creating a tapestry of faith that defined the spirit of Harmonyville amidst the conflicts and resolutions of its diverse inhabitants.

He Matters

In the quiet corners of every heart’s room,
Where shadows may linger, where doubts may loom,


Christ matters, His love an eternal stream,
A truth beyond time, like a sacred dream.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” He spoke,
A promise from the Scriptures, a celestial stroke.
Not just an anxiety teacher, as some may claim,
But the Lord of salvation, in Jesus’ name.

“In the beginning was the Word,” divine,
A truth transcendent, like aged wine.
Yet some dismiss, with a casual nod,
The wisdom found in the Word of God.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” it’s told,
In conservative teachings, a treasure to hold.
For Christ matters in every stride,
A Savior’s love, forever our guide.

“Love your neighbor as yourself,” the decree,
A concept rooted in Christianity’s tree.
Beyond outdated, beyond the fray,
In Christ’s love, we find our way.

“In Him, all things hold together,” the verse,
An anchor for souls, a blessing, not a curse.
Not mere philosophy from days of old,
But eternal truths, forever told.

So, let Christ matter in every land,
A cornerstone, steadfast, and grand.
Not confined to anxious thoughts alone,
But a Savior’s love, eternally known.

Christian Actions Speak Loudly in Harmonyville

In the serene outskirts of Harmonyville, a small cottage nestled amidst nature was home to an old man named Samuel Turner. Samuel, a wise and seasoned soul, had lived through decades of societal changes and witnessed the evolution of his beloved town. Living next door was a young man named Alex Bennett, whose profound wisdom was attributed to a life lived by Biblical standards and a genuine embrace of virtue.

Alex, in his early twenties, exuded a rare wisdom that surpassed his years. He was deeply influenced by his faith, and his understanding of virtue emanated from the teachings of the Bible. His passion for social justice and equality was not merely rooted in liberal ideologies, but in the principles of love, compassion, and justice found in the scriptures.

The old man, Samuel, having weathered the storms of time, recognized the depth of Alex’s understanding and appreciated the profound connection between virtue and biblical principles. Samuel made several attempts to engage Alex in meaningful conversations, hoping to impart his own wisdom while learning from the young man’s unique perspective.

One sunny afternoon, Samuel invited Alex over for a cup of tea on his porch. The air was filled with the subtle fragrance of chamomile as they settled into rocking chairs overlooking the peaceful landscape.

“Alex,” Samuel began, his voice a gentle reminder of years gone by, “there’s a depth to making a difference that goes beyond words. ‘Virtue signaling’ may make one feel good temporarily, but true impact requires more than just rhetoric.”

With a calm demeanor, Alex responded, “Samuel, the Bible tells us in James 2:17, ‘Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.’ Our actions should be an outpouring of our faith, demonstrating the love and virtue we hold within.”

Samuel nodded thoughtfully, acknowledging the biblical truth in Alex’s words. “Raising awareness is important, but change often demands tangible actions. It’s about going beyond the keyboard and actively participating in the causes you believe in. Let your deeds speak louder than your words.”

In response, Alex shared a passage from Proverbs 21:3, “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” He continued, “Our actions, rooted in righteousness and justice, are a genuine offering to God. It’s about living out our faith in a way that aligns with His principles.”

Over the following weeks, Samuel continued his attempts to convey the importance of substance in making a meaningful impact. He shared stories from his own past, and Alex reciprocated with anecdotes from the Bible that reinforced the timeless wisdom they both cherished.

As Harmonyville prepared for its annual community service day, Samuel saw an opportunity to demonstrate the value of hands-on involvement. He invited Alex to join him in contributing to a local charity that provided meals to those in need.

On the day of the community service event, the old man and the young man found themselves side by side, serving meals and engaging with the community. Samuel demonstrated the fulfillment that came from direct, meaningful action, and slowly but surely, Alex began to understand the depth of what he had previously dismissed as old-fashioned.

Amidst their work, Samuel spoke again, “Alex, there’s true virtue in actions that impact lives. It’s not about signaling to others but about making a difference, one person at a time.”

With a newfound appreciation for the hands-on experience, Alex recalled Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” He added, “These virtues are not just words but actions that reflect the very nature of God.”

The experience left a lasting impression on Alex. The seed of understanding planted by Samuel had sprouted, challenging the superficial aspects of ‘virtue signaling.’ The young man realized that while raising awareness was crucial, actively participating in the betterment of society held unparalleled value.

In the weeks that followed, Alex redirected his energy towards meaningful endeavors. He became actively involved in local initiatives, working alongside Samuel to make a tangible impact on the lives of Harmonyville residents.

The town noticed the change in Alex, recognizing his shift from mere ‘virtue signaling’ to genuine, action-oriented involvement. The community service day had become a turning point, not just for Alex but for Harmonyville as a whole.

As the years unfolded, the old man and the young man continued their collaboration in various community projects. The lessons Samuel imparted about the enduring value of actions over words resonated deeply with Alex, shaping him into a more impactful and sincere advocate for positive change.

Harmonyville, once again, became a beacon of true harmony – a place where the substance of character and genuine actions prevailed over superficial gestures. The narrative of Samuel and Alex unfolded as a testament to the timeless wisdom that transcended generational gaps, leaving a lasting legacy for the community they both cherished. The journey had not only transformed Alex’s perspective but had also strengthened the bond between generations, showcasing the enduring power of virtue rooted in Godly principles.

Christian Actions Speak

Introducing our exclusive t-shirt that boldly declares, “Christian actions speak louder than virtue signaling.” In a world filled with noise and empty gestures, this shirt stands as a powerful reminder that as Christians, our commitment to virtue is rooted in God’s teachings rather than political posturing.

Product Description: Embrace the essence of true virtue with our thought-provoking t-shirt. The phrase “Christian actions speak louder than virtue signaling” encapsulates the core principle that as followers of Christ, our virtues are not for public display but are deeply embedded in our actions, guided by God’s standards rather than political trends.


Inspiration from the Scriptures: This shirt is not just a piece of clothing; it’s a testament to the biblical teachings on virtue. Immerse yourself in the wisdom of the Scriptures with eight handpicked verses that illuminate the path of true virtue:

  • Proverbs 31:10-31 – The Virtuous Woman
  • Galatians 5:22-23 – The Fruits of the Spirit
  • Philippians 4:8 – Whatever is True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable
  • Colossians 3:12-17 – Put on Virtues as God’s Chosen Ones
  • 2 Peter 1:5-7 – Add Virtue to Your Faith
  • Matthew 5:16 – Let Your Light Shine Before Others
  • Titus 2:7-8 – Show Yourself in All Respects to be a Model of Good Works
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – The Characteristics of Love

Biblical Examples of Virtue: Illustrating the concept further, the shirt features three inspiring biblical examples of virtue:

Ruth: A woman of unwavering loyalty and kindness, Ruth’s virtuous actions led her to become a beacon of hope and an integral part of God’s redemptive plan.

Joseph: Despite facing adversity, Joseph displayed remarkable virtue by remaining faithful to God, forgiving those who wronged him, and ultimately playing a crucial role in God’s divine plan.


Esther: Esther’s courage and virtue positioned her to save her people, reminding us that true virtue empowers us to make a positive impact on the world around us.

Wear this shirt with pride, knowing that your commitment to virtue is grounded in the timeless wisdom of the Scriptures. Let your actions speak volumes and inspire others to embrace true virtue – a virtue defined by God’s standards, not the fleeting winds of political correctness.

My Pronouns Are…

In the picturesque town of Harmonyville, nestled between rolling hills and lush greenery, lived a community that epitomized the idyllic charm of small-town life. Harmonyville, with its cobblestone streets and charming cottages adorned with vibrant flower gardens, was a place where everyone knew each other by name. The town’s population of around 5,000 people was a close-knit community that valued tradition, faith, and neighborly connections.

Benjamin, a young man of 23, was a pillar of the community. Raised in a family deeply rooted in Christian values, he embodied the essence of Harmonyville’s tight-knit society. With his sandy blond hair and earnest blue eyes, Benjamin exuded an aura of kindness and sincerity. Known for his active involvement in the local church, he was a regular at community events, always willing to lend a helping hand to his fellow townspeople.

Contrasting Benjamin’s steadfastness was Trey, a 25-year-old with a penchant for challenging the status quo. With a charismatic demeanor, Trey’s jet-black hair and a perpetual twinkle in his hazel eyes hinted at a rebellious spirit. Unlike many in Harmonyville, Trey had moved to the town only a few years ago, bringing with him a different perspective and a desire to question established norms.

As Benjamin and Trey forged an unlikely friendship, the dynamics of Harmonyville began to shift. The town’s traditional values and close community bonds were momentarily tested by the interplay of their contrasting worldviews. The townspeople, accustomed to a harmonious existence, observed with curiosity as the two young men engaged in thought-provoking discussions that challenged the very fabric of their beliefs.

Harmonyville’s main square, adorned with a charming fountain and surrounded by quaint shops, became the backdrop for many of these conversations. The local bakery, known for its warm pastries and friendly atmosphere, often served as a meeting place for Benjamin and Trey. The aroma of freshly baked goods mingled with the tension of intellectual exchange, creating a unique blend that mirrored the dichotomy within the town.

However, it was the Harmonyville Coffee House, a cozy establishment on the corner of Elm Street, that became the common meeting place where the townspeople would overhear and observe Benjamin and Trey’s engaging discussions about their differences. With its rustic wooden furniture, exposed brick walls adorned with local art, and the soothing aroma of freshly ground coffee beans, the Harmonyville Coffee House provided the perfect backdrop for conversations that went beyond the usual pleasantries.

Regular patrons, engrossed in their own conversations or lost in the pages of a book, couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the thought-provoking exchanges between Benjamin and Trey. The clinking of coffee cups and the gentle hum of conversation created a harmonious atmosphere that mirrored the essence of the town itself.

As Benjamin quoted biblical verses and Trey countered with liberal viewpoints, the Harmonyville Coffee House became a microcosm of the larger debate unfolding within the town. The subtle tension and intellectual energy in the air captivated the attention of those seated nearby, turning the coffee house into an unintentional arena for the clash of ideals.

In the days leading up to the public debate, whispers of the discussions held at the Harmonyville Coffee House circulated through the town like a gentle breeze. The townspeople, intrigued by the unfolding dialogue, found themselves drawn to the coffee house, hoping to catch a glimpse of the ongoing conversations that would shape the upcoming debate.

The coffee house, once a haven for quiet contemplation, transformed into a symbol of the evolving dynamics within Harmonyville. The eclectic mix of patrons, from farmers to artists, shared knowing glances and exchanged subtle nods as they absorbed the rich tapestry of perspectives being woven by Benjamin and Trey.

The Harmonyville Gazette, always attuned to the pulse of the community, even featured a column titled “Coffee House Chronicles,” documenting the evolving friendship and debates between Benjamin and Trey. The quaint coffee house inadvertently became a meeting ground for unity amidst diversity, and its tables bore witness to the transformative power of genuine dialogue within the heart of Harmonyville.

As the public debate approached, the anticipation in Harmonyville reached a crescendo. The town hall, a historic building with wooden beams and stained glass windows, was buzzing with excitement as residents gathered to witness the clash of ideals between Benjamin and Trey. The stage was set for a dialogue that would not only define the town’s stance on multiple genders but also serve as a testament to the resilience of Harmonyville’s close-knit community.

Trey, with confidence in his stride, presented arguments for multiple genders, articulating the need for recognition and acceptance of diverse gender identities. The crowd listened attentively, a mix of curiosity and concern etched on their faces.

In response, Benjamin, true to his character, began with a quote from Genesis. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” The familiarity of biblical verses resonated within the hall, and the audience waited with bated breath for the unfolding dialogue.

As the debate progressed, Harmonyville found itself at a crossroads. The charming town that prided itself on unity and tradition was now witnessing a clash of ideals that would either deepen the divisions or pave the way for a newfound understanding.

In the days that followed the debate, Harmonyville experienced a subtle transformation. The townspeople engaged in discussions at the local coffee shop, sharing their perspectives and grappling with the implications of the debate. The Harmonyville Gazette, a quaint newspaper that chronicled the town’s events, featured letters to the editor expressing a myriad of opinions on the matter.

Trey, now immersed in his quest for understanding, began attending local church gatherings with Benjamin. The community, initially divided, witnessed the blossoming of a unique friendship between the two young men. Harmonyville, true to its name, became a melting pot of diverse perspectives, learning to embrace differences while cherishing the shared values that defined the town’s essence.

As Benjamin and Trey continued their unlikely friendship, Harmonyville emerged as a symbol of resilience and growth. The town, with its rich history and newfound openness, embraced the complexity of the human experience, proving that even in the face of differing beliefs, harmony could prevail.

However, the most unexpected transformation occurred within Benjamin himself. The union of Trey’s liberal notions and the scientific evidence presented during the debate prompted Benjamin to reassess his perspectives. Wrestling with the weight of biblical teachings and the undeniable biological truths, Benjamin underwent a profound change of heart.

In a quiet moment of reflection, surrounded by the familiar sights and sounds of Harmonyville, Benjamin came to a realization. The harmony he sought within himself and the community required an acknowledgment of the diversity of human experiences. Guided by newfound insights and a deep understanding of the complexities involved, Benjamin no longer clung to a rigid view of gender.

With humility and grace, Benjamin embraced a more nuanced understanding that allowed for the recognition of the varied experiences of those around him. The once unwavering believer in a binary view of gender now acknowledged the intricacies of identity and the importance of compassion in navigating these complexities.

As Benjamin shared his evolving perspective with the community, Harmonyville witnessed a transformative moment. The town, once divided by the clash of ideals, became a beacon of acceptance and understanding. The Harmonyville Coffee House, where the initial debates had unfolded, now bore witness to a new chapter in the town’s history—one characterized by openness, empathy, and a shared commitment to embracing the beauty of diversity.

In the heart of Harmonyville, amid cob

Character Over Color


In the bustling city of Harmonyville, where people from various backgrounds coexisted, there lived a man named Richard Thompson. Richard, an influential figure in the community, was known for his business acumen and charisma. However, a dark cloud loomed over his commendable achievements – his belief that race was more significant than character.

Raised in an environment that perpetuated harmful stereotypes, Richard clung to outdated ideologies that judged people based on the color of their skin rather than the content of their character. His views stood in stark contrast to the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., who dreamt of a society where individuals were evaluated by the substance within them.

One day, as Harmonyville buzzed with activity, Richard attended a community event where he encountered David Patterson, a talented African-American artist. David’s vibrant personality and passion for art made him a local favorite, but Richard, clouded by his prejudiced mindset, couldn’t see beyond the color of his skin.

As fate would have it, the city was preparing for the annual Harmonyville Unity Festival, an event that aimed to celebrate differences and challenge preconceived notions. The organizing committee, aware of Richard’s narrow-minded views, assigned him the task of overseeing the festival’s art exhibition, strategically hoping to broaden his perspective.

But this story is not just about Richard’s journey; it is also a reflection of the contemporary challenges faced by society. News stories, bulletins, and articles became integral to the narrative, serving as object lessons to the reader about the rise of character degradation irrespective of racial or ethnic background.

In the weeks leading up to the festival, headlines flashed across screens, illustrating instances where the lack of character seemed to be on the rise. Scandals involving prominent figures, regardless of their racial or ethnic backgrounds, dominated the news cycle. The media became a mirror reflecting the erosion of moral values in society.

As Richard immersed himself in the festival preparations, he found himself confronted with these real-world examples of character degradation. News stories highlighted cases where individuals, irrespective of their race, succumbed to the temptations of greed, dishonesty, and unethical behavior. The world seemed to be grappling with a crisis of character, overshadowing the harmony that the Unity Festival aimed to celebrate.

Amid the festival’s vibrant atmosphere, Richard’s interactions with artists from diverse backgrounds were interspersed with snippets of news articles portraying the struggles society faced in preserving moral integrity. The juxtaposition of the artistic creations and the contemporary challenges underscored the urgency of addressing the degradation of character that transcended racial boundaries.

On the day of the Harmonyville Unity Festival, the city square transformed into a vivid tapestry of colors and sounds, mirroring the variety within the community. Richard, having been exposed to the stark reality of character erosion through contemporary news stories, approached the art exhibition with a newfound perspective.

The artworks spoke volumes about the human experience, challenging the prevalent narrative of character degradation. Yet, the festival wasn’t just a celebration; it became a platform for introspection. News articles, strategically displayed alongside the art, served as reminders that the battle against character degradation was ongoing and transcended racial or ethnic lines.

As Richard navigated through the festival, he couldn’t help but reflect on the news stories that underscored the urgency of addressing the crisis of character in contemporary society. The vibrant artworks stood as a testament to the beauty that could emerge when individuals embraced their differences, yet the headlines reminded everyone that the journey toward true harmony required confronting the challenges posed by eroding values.

Motivated by his experiences and the lessons from contemporary news stories, Richard continued to champion the importance of character development in Harmonyville. He initiated programs that not only celebrated individuality but also addressed the pressing need for character development in the face of societal challenges. The once-divided city became a beacon of resilience, demonstrating that character could triumph over the prevailing winds of moral decay.

To support the concepts of unity, merit, integrity, and the development of good character being above reproach, Richard turned to timeless wisdom found in the Bible. Here are seven passages that resonated with him and became guiding principles for Harmonyville:

  1. Ephesians 4:3 (NIV): “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
  2. Proverbs 11:3 (NIV): “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.”
  3. Philippians 2:3 (NIV): “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.”
  4. Proverbs 22:1 (NIV): “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
  5. Colossians 3:23 (NIV): “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
  6. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV): “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
  7. Galatians 6:4 (NIV): “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.”

These passages became foundational for Richard and the community of Harmonyville, guiding them toward a society where character and unity triumphed over divisive ideologies. The festival, now infused with these principles, continued to inspire positive change and foster a harmonious environment where the content of one’s character was truly valued above all else.

The Endurance Marathon: Navigating Life’s Race with Purpose

The metaphor of life as a race isn’t novel, resonating beyond Hebrews. The apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 9:24, emphasizes the necessity of running to win the heavenly prize.

For Christians, life signifies participation in a race destined for heaven—a marathon demanding unwavering endurance.

Life, as depicted in Hebrews 12:1, mirrors a race demanding not just speed but endurance. Dennis Stackhouse powerfully articulates this analogy, urging readers to shed encumbrances and avoid entangling sins that obstruct their spiritual journey.

Paul’s self-discipline, noted in I Corinthians 9:27, underscores the conscious effort required to persist. Likewise, Philippians 3:12-14 illuminates the forward-focused mindset imperative for spiritual growth.

Stackhouse portrays this mindset as fundamental, urging a continual pursuit of the prize despite present imperfection.

The culmination of endurance, eloquently encapsulated in II Timothy 4:7-8, unveils the ultimate reward for steadfast faith.

Stackhouse emphasizes that faithful endurance yields an unimaginable reward: the crown of righteousness promised by the righteous Judge.

The article, rooted in biblical passages, eloquently paints life as an endurance marathon, urging readers toward a relentless pursuit of faith and righteousness.

It prompts introspection, urging individuals to embrace endurance and remain steadfast in their spiritual journey, culminating in a celestial reward beyond measure.