Meaningful Living in the Hashtag Age

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THE GREATEST

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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.

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I’m Satisfied

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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. I, like many people at that age, struggled to discern what was good for my soul verses what was bad for my salvation.

My experience in building a relationship with God can best be described as finding water in the middle of dry and deserted land. For years, I’d walked through the hot sands weak, dehydrated, and in desperate need of nourishment but God found and restored me. He protected me from my own depraved decisions, He prevented me from walking in the shadows of immorality, and He shielded me from the influence of bad company. It is because of His love that I can testify to the power of His salvation.

While I stumbled through the desert looking for water, God was building wells all around me. One-by-one He filled them with an everlasting flow of His love and strategically placed them in my path. But my fears and worldliness often caused me to overlook the table that he had prepared before me. And as my faith grew, my vision improved and eventually God’s destiny for my life became clearer. I knew, in time, my thirst would finally be satisfied.

What I learned over the years is that there is no well deeper, wider, or more sustaining than one filled with God’s love. He can pour out oceans of his kindness and patience and still have oceans more to give. That’s what makes Him a wonderful Father – His children are incapable of being thirsty in His presence.

The salvation that I needed was greater than the salvation that I sought. God knew this, and He allowed me to experience the faultiness of my small ambitions by forcing me to feel the weariness of a thirsty soul. I was walking in the desert looking for a cup filled with tap water when God had prepared before me a cool and life-sustaining stream.

God is the only one that can satisfy our needs. Scripture teaches us in Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” In Psalms 61:1, it reads: “My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is not water.” And in Psalm 36:7-9, it states: “How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house: you give drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”

By drinking from God’s fountain of life we find peace sustained by His strength and wisdom. We are rejuvenated each time we swallow a morsel of His word and drink a thimble of His grace. It is in God’s everlasting waters that we are exposed to His light and provided a clearer understanding of His destiny for our life.

As we struggle to find satisfaction in an insatiable world, we should never forget that God is always at work building wells in dry and weary places. Through faithfulness we will find our way to His sustaining stream and learn to drink daily from His living waters.

“O taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for thee, O God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2)

“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture said, streams of living water will flow from him.’” (John 7:37)

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

Michelle D. Jackson is author of The Heart of a Man, a Christian novel and Founder of The Charity Supper Club, a program designed to raise money to benefit local charities and families in need.

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