Meaningful Living in the Hashtag Age



Groans from the crowd permeate the arena as the undefeated boxing champion is caught off-guard by a hard right hook. Stumbling towards the rope, he struggles to keep his balance while the referee follows his every move in preparation to start the dreaded countdown to his defeat. Nonetheless, in an unexpected show of courage, he recovers his balance, shuffles his feet into a stance readily known as the marker for a true comeback, then starts to jab without fear or remorse.

The crowd goes wild.

His opponent, who just seconds before was convinced the fight had come to an end, and he was the victor, responded to the champion’s roaring fans with a grimace look. It wasn’t over. And now, in spite of his well-executed strategy to defeat his opponent and take his title, he would need the strength to go yet another round.

God takes the fight to our enemies whenever we find ourselves stumbling towards defeat.  In his fighter’s persona, he is the most powerful counterpuncher who couples his strength with fierce footwork, an on-target uppercut, and a strong jab which stuns the opposition every time. He is a fighter on a mission to save us from our enemy, so we can live a victorious life.

When we enter the boxing ring without God leading and protecting us, we often find ourselves limited to bobbing, weaving, blocking and parrying instead of punching back. We preserve our bodies from the hard blows and quick defeat, but we cannot win without the strength and courage to knock out the enemy who threatens to take our joy and leave us battered and bruised.

The enemy takes on many disguises. Whether it is drug addiction, an attack on our marriage or the dismantling of our relationship with God, when the enemy enters the ring, he is prepared to fight to the end. We need God to keep us strong, to protect us and to see us through.

God is the master of the rope-a-dope. He takes our punches for us then fall back on the ropes, letting it absorb the power of each blow and preserve our strength for another round. This is all in His plan to cause the enemy to “punch himself out” and make mistakes.  The biggest mistake our enemies make is believing that our faith is weak and defeatable. However, when God comes to defend us He always has a winning strategy. His counterattack will leave us protected and secured.

Once God takes the ring and we are moved to the corner stool to sit and watch Him work, we should be reminded of Exodus 14:14 which says, The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. When He lands the first punch, and the enemy falls to his knees, we must remember 2 Chronicles 20:17: You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. And finally, once our enemy is defeated, we must keep God’s promise in our heart by remembering Isaiah 41:10: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

As Christians, we are in a never-ending battle against the enemy. Our boxing gloves are torn and tattered; our shoes are filled with holes, and our boxing robes are stained with remnants of our defeat. But when we call on God to meet us in the ring, to protect us from our enemy, and to defend us at our weakest moments, we are, in essence, asking him to preserve and restore us, so we can continue to spread the word about a living God who loves us enough to fight for our heart, mind and soul.

God is the greatest. He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t fail. He doesn’t surrender. He will fight for you even when you cannot fight for yourself. No enemy shall defeat you as long as God is in your corner, and your faith is intact.

When the boxing bell sounds, and you are standing nose-to-nose with the enemy, fight your hardest and activate your faith. But when you need Him most, take your stance, remember your role as a servant of God, and let Him fight your battles for you. He has the strength, power, grace, and mercy to protect you to the very end.

Deuteronomy 3:22
“Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.”

Nehemiah 4:20
“At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

Luke 10:19

“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

This article is in the November Issue of The Mount Christian Magazine. To view the publication go here.

Michelle D. Jackson is author of the inspirational novel, The Heart of a Man. Follow her on Facebook @AuthorMichelleDJackson.


Love Thy Neighbor


Growing up I was fascinated with watching my brother, a self-taught artist and one of the most talented people I’ve ever met, draw human portraits. Meticulously, he had a way of capturing the essence of a person’s unique features and through the slight impressions of his pencil and a strong belief in his creativity, he was blessed with the talent to turn a blank canvas into a masterpiece.

Using an array of art techniques, he would always begin his portraits by sketching an oval face on a white canvas. Next, he would draw a vertical line from forehead to chin, one horizontal line across the center, from ear-to-ear, and two or more horizontal lines toward the bottom of the oval. Each line would be used to place the person’s eyes, nose, and mouth in proper proportion to one another. Each stroke was as mystifying as the next. Nevertheless, like magic, as he focused on building the person’s facial features, a beautiful picture would appear.

While watching him draw portraits, I learned to appreciate the beauty of all mankind. From the color of our skin, the shape of our eyes to our crooked smiles and pointy ears, the variations in our physical appearances are what makes us unique but also the same. We all fill our canvasses with an image in the likeness of God; we are more akin than we are different.

For as long as man has been on this earth, society has suffered due to racial and economic profiling. The color of our skin and the amount of wealth we have determines the level of respect we deserve.  People with dark complexions are more prone to criminal activity, laziness and ignorance. People who live in poverty are unwilling to work and accepting of a second-rate life. That’s what profiling suggests. That’s the misperception that focusing on the flesh instead of the heart creates.

Man’s view of man is consumed with the physical. But what does God see? And if we could see each other the way God sees us would racism, sexism or colorism exist? Would unarmed black men be killed by white police officers at a higher rate than unarmed white men? Would people of color serve longer prison sentences for the same crimes as white people?

If God had to draw an image of you, what would it look like? Would he start off drawing an oval face, perfectly placed features, impeccable hair and flawless skin? Would he use his masterful skills to capture everything that makes you unique and physically beautiful? Or would he focus on something deeper, more meaningful than the color of your eyes or the length of your nose?

I believe God doesn’t see our physical bodies. He sees our heart. He knows us by our righteousness and our obedience to him. He blesses us because of our love of others and our reverence to the holy spirit. As his children, who we are and how we live should resemble him. And we are not to judge each other based on worldly standards but to accept each other and to believe that God has the power to change hearts for the good.

The bible teaches us that there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all (Romans 10:12-13). It also teaches us to treat one another equally and to remain fair and just in our interactions. In Romans 2:11 and James 2:9, it states: For God shows no partiality. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.

What racial profiling has created is a false narrative about the responsibility God has placed on each of us to care for and love one another. We are each other’s neighbor no matter where we live on earth. And we are our brother’s keeper, even when our complexions, ideologies, and faiths are different. God gave the final word on the matter when he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth (Acts 17:26).

Racial profiling is the belief that white canvasses should never be marked with beautiful colors. That artists should only use single tones and straight lines. And that every picture should be of the same person with similar features, beliefs, and goals. But diversity and uniqueness bring brilliant light to the universe. Different hues and textures create a collage of people that are symbolic of the world God expects us to live in both peace and harmony.

Mark 12:30-31

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

Leviticus 19:18

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

Michelle D. Jackson is author of The Heart of a Man, a Christian novel. Follow her on Facebook at

This article was published in the September issue of The Mount Magazine. To view the publication go to: 

I Want What I Want


I want to be a wife, I want a family of my own,

I want a beautiful home, I want an amazing career

I want wealth, I want to see the world.

I want….I want….I want… I want.

We spend so many moments each day saying what we want.  From this to that, and that back to this.  It’s a never ending cycle of desire.  But I have learned that instead of “wanting”, to speak as if it already is to draw that desire to me.  As I practice operating as if it’s already done I have one more “want”.

I want to say today “I’m thankful…. for everything”

By Pam Cook, Contributing Writer and Photographer


It’s 5am and I’m driving to an early morning appointment.  I’m looking ahead focused on the road. Obeying all the traffic signals, moving along routinely as always when driving.  I was first to arrive at the meeting location so I decided to check emails, missed phone calls, and scroll social media. When I finally looked up I witnessed the beautiful transition from night to daylight. God is amazing and continues to bless us in spite of ourselves (myself).  I’m very grateful to arrive at my destination early enough to watch the sun rise over the city.  To enjoy the quiet moments as the night clouds give way to sunshine.

By Pam Cook

The Wait


Have you ever played the game Red Light – Green Light? If not, here’s how it works: first, all the players stand side-by-side in a single line facing the person (let’s call him/her the ‘leader’) responsible for giving the ‘red light’ and ‘green light’ commands. When the leader, who is standing at least 15 feet in front of the players, gives the ‘green light’ command everyone must rapidly move towards them. But when the ‘red light’ command is given everyone must stop immediately, assess where they are, then wait until the leader gives the green light command again. The player who reaches the leader first wins the game.

As Christians we often find ourselves in a real-life Red Light – Green Light scenario. Standing side-by-side with people who we perceive to be in competition with us and vigorously working to reach what we assume to be the higher echelon of life.  The journey to reach our goal is filled with stop and go commands given by God that we cannot control or change. And the wait, as frustrating as it can be, is often a period of retrospect that allows us to assess where we are, re-think our strategies for reaching the goal-line and decide whether the journey is worth the wait.

When the green light is given, we are encouraged to run our fastest in order to leave our competition behind. Society teaches us that being first is a noble quest, even if it requires pushing and shoving to get ahead of others. But in Matthew 19:30, the Bible states, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” Earthly rank does not translate into heavenly rank. And although I believe that being first is not a sin, our focus must remain on God and His destiny for our life.

The most difficult times are the red light, or waiting, periods of life. Throughout the Bible we are taught that patience is a virtuous attribute and the power to wait on God is rewarded in the end. But the fear of never achieving our goals coupled with faulty thinking that God is not with us during our waiting period creates anxiety and uncertainty along the way. Whether we are waiting on an improved health report from the doctor, the healing of a drug addicted child or help with a struggling marriage, the red light periods of life are our most difficult.

In my darkest hours during my waiting periods, I often reflect on Psalm 30: 5: Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. God often uses the transitioning from night to day as an example of how hard times will evolve from darkness to light.

God blesses the waiting period. He stands in the mist of the awkward silence that threatens to make us believe that He isn’t there, and He whispers hope into our ear. Often, we cannot hear Him because of our fears, but God is always in control. He doesn’t leave us in the coldest moments nor does He blow away in the highest winds. He is our rock and our fortress.

The waiting period is a time of triumph. It is during this period that we do our bravest work. We learn to stand still and to believe that daylight is just over the horizon and darkness is not eternal. When we wait – patiently – we learn how to run our fastest without trampling others and to appreciate the journey.

Gods timing is not our timing and His priorities are not our priorities. Therefore, when the green light is on, we must take what we learned during the red light periods and approach our journey with consideration and love if we are to reach the pinnacle of God’s expectation for our lives.

Psalms 27:13-14   I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Isaiah 40:31   but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Lamentations 3:25   The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Micah 7:7   But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

This original article was published in the July 2016 issue of The Mount Christian Magazine.

Michelle D. Jackson is author of The Heart of a Man, a Christian novel.



My nine-year-old son is a video game enthusiast. When I ask him about his unequivocal love of playing them; he assures me that video games are educational, and one day he will create his own, make a million dollars and buy me all the Australian licorice I can eat. The kid is smart; he knows just what to say to earn a few more hours of playtime.

When I was his age, playing Frogger on Atari was a big deal. But no matter how many hours I committed to playing that game; I never imagined creating a game of my own. So I admire my son’s ambition because I recognize that his desire to be a gamer is the start of the creation of his very own dream machine.

My unscientific definition of dream machine is the birth of personal and professional goals through the development of positive imaginative experiences. In other words, to possess a dream machine is the equivalent of daydreaming with your eyes wide open and believing that anything is possible.

Unlike my generation, my son is deeply emerged in the high-tech innovations that influence almost every part of his young life. From his fourth-grade school curriculum, which is heavily web-based, to kid-focused apps and programs on his tablet, he wouldn’t recognize a world void of technology.

But technology doesn’t inspire the creation of a dream machine. What inspires a dreamer is the belief that all things are possible. When children believe in a boundary-less world, they can envision a life of accomplishment and success. Technology is just one of many tools our kids have to help them expand their dreamscape.

I, like my son, had big dreams as a child. I wanted to be a best-selling author, President of the World and a Fly Girl dancer on the show, In Living Color. My dream machine empowered me to believe that anything was possible in spite of my circumstances. It didn’t matter that my parents weren’t college-educated, and I grew up in public housing. Nor did it matter that my dancing skills were sub-par and my grades were good but not stellar, my dream machine provided me with the inspiration I needed to believe in a bigger and better tomorrow.

My machine was composed of three key components:

  • My ability to believe
  • The power to dream
  • My desire to achieve

My imagination was endowed by five power sources:

  • Books
  • Music
  • Art
  • Faith in God
  • Freedom to explore

Although I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I was positively influenced by my family, friends and teachers.

The power source that I leaned on most as a child was reading. When I read a good book, I envisioned myself to be as gifted as Helen Keller; fearless as Anne Frank and inspirational as Maya Angelou. Books helped me to create a world filled with possibilities and adventure.

Countless youths today struggle because of their inability to dream of a better life and to work towards achieving it. Their imaginations are stammered by crime-infested communities, failing schools, substance abuse, gang-life, and a lack of good-paying jobs.

Many of our youth are not being encouraged to explore their imaginations, build on the foundation of strong communities and look to the future for new opportunities and adventures. Instead, they are directly impacted by overworked teachers, underpaid parents, no playtime, and a lack of positive influencers who should be mentoring, encouraging and motivating them to build a dream machine of their own.

In addition, our children are struggling because of social and parenting changes that force them to be independent too early in life or not independent at all. These factors make it difficult to envision a world much different from what is currently around them. These changes include:

  • Permissive parenting – the end to parents taking a leading role in the discipline and guidance of their children.
  • The destruction of the village – we are no longer a community-oriented society. The positive influences of being integrated into the community are getting lost.
  • Lack of spirituality – our world has moved away from encouraging youth to build a strong relationship with God.
  • Over-criminalization of youth – the criminal system is imprisoning youth longer and for less offensive crimes and therefore, robbing them of any chance of securing a good job and creating a decent life for themselves. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, on any given day, approximately 70,000 juvenile criminal offenders live in residential detention facilities, and about 68% are racial minorities.
  • Overexposure to drugs and alcohol – kids are making illicit drugs and alcohol their substitute parents. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) National Institute on Drugs, abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs extract more than $400 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care. Furthermore, young adults (ages 18 – 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription (RX) opioids. In 2014 alone, 1,700 young adults died from prescription-drug overdoses.
  • Increase in gang-affiliation – gangs create a false sense of security for youth in inner-cities. According to the National Gang Center, annual estimates of the number of gang members have averaged around 770,000 nationally. Gang-related homicides decreased 2 percent from 2010 to 2011 and then increased by 28 percent from 2011 to 2012 in cities with populations over 100,000.

How do we start to fix this?

Although many kids may find it difficult to imagine a life beyond their current circumstance, that doesn’t give us (adults) the right to fail to teach them how to create their dream machine. However, to do so, we must be a unified voice of encouragement, and we must think creatively on ways to get youth involved in positive activities.

From sports to youth entrepreneurship, we must expose our children to new ways of seeing the world. Encourage them to read a book, learn to code or write a song. Help them to envision a world of possibilities that is worth their hard-work and commitment.  Inspire them to activate their own dream machine by sharing yours. Be an inspiration by living well and sharing your passions, joys and failures. Let them know that a good dream machine can take them far.

The challenge is placed before all of us and not just parents and teachers. Kids need to be inspired and included. Playtime should be encouraged, and integration into the community must be required. Kids need a safe place to explore.

No matter how challenging life can get, our kids deserve to know that day-dreaming is a form of art, and their minds are already equipped with the tools they need to create a beautiful and fulfilling future.

Michelle D. Jackson is Founder & Executive Director of i.Invest National Youth Entrepreneur Business Competition , CEO of PR Solutions LLC and author of The Heart of a Man.

I’m Satisfied

I was baptized at 12 years old but I wasn’t spiritually awakened until 23. Young and ambitious, my approach to living was to seek gratification first instead of placing God at the head of my life. …

Source: I’m Satisfied

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