On the United States calendar, today is marked as Thanksgiving. Originally, it was sited as a Christian holiday, but oddly enough, it is now largely viewed as a secular holiday; a day of harvest and festival. I prefer to see it from the Christian angle because whenever I think of giving thanks, I immediately think of God. If anyone deserves a special day of appreciation, it is the creator of all things and the giver of life.
Life. More and more, that one simple, yet powerful, word seems to take a front seat in my every day existence. This year, one of the things for which I'm most grateful is the release of my most recent book (my first nonfiction), I Shall Not Die, and the launch of its partnering empowerment ministry, The I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement. As I've repeatedly stated during speaking engagements as well as in my writings regarding I Shall Not Die, it is my seventeenth published work, but it is actually the first book that I was inspired to write. It was one that God ordered in 1995, but one that I'd fought against penning until 2009. Yet, despite my procrastination, when I finally obeyed the voice of the Lord and finally got it into print this year, He blessed it beyond my imagination. Truly, just as He promised in scripture (Ephesians 3:20), God has done exceeding abundantly above all that I asked or thought.
Through I Shall Not Die and The I.S.L.A.N.D. Movement, many doors have opened for me to share the message of this book that is based on my own true life miracle and experiences. I should have been dead a long time ago, but God said not so, and even through the loss that I suffered, God still gave life. I Shall Not Die has been available to the public for less than two months, but the testimony that it shares has blessed many people in that relatively short span of time. I'm thrilled by the feedback that I have received in the form of Facebook postings, private emails, telephone calls, and online reviews. Additionally, I Shall Not Die has captured the heart of an independent documentarian who has plans to turn it into a televised documentary. How humbling it is to be used of God to share the message of hope with the world.
At the start of my writing career in 2002, I promised the Lord that I would use this gift He gave me to His honor and glory. I have declared that it will be all about ministy, and over the years, various outside temptations have come my way to try to distract me. Everything from a would-be publishers request for me to change my writing style so that my stories appeal to a more secular audience to the lucrative offer from another would-be publisher if I would agree to operate under a pen name and write erotica. My answer to both of these was an emphatic NO. Sure, it would have brought me a certain level of fame and fortune, but what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? My declaration remains the same. This gift that God has given me is all about ministry, and whatever notariety I don't gain doing it God's way, I won't gain. And I have no regrets.
I am so thankful for where I am, because I know that I am is where God wants me to be at this present time. And I know that more doors will open that will help to usher me to the place where He desires me to be in the future. I wouldn't trade my journey for the world. And believe me when I tell you...it ain't over....there is more to come...and I'm thankful for that too.