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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A Thankful Heart


The Christmas carol, Little Drummer Boy (yes, I know we are a month away, but the story fits) tells a story about a boy, his drum, a baby, and his mother. I’m sure you know the story, but I want to share it with you to refresh your memory (and perhaps get you excited about the upcoming season).

A baby is born in a manger. An unlikely baby in an unlikely place. The baby will grow up to be the Messiah, according to prophecy. The first to hear about the news were shepherds. Generally, an uneducated and rather poor lot. They came to see the baby and mother.

With them was a little boy. He wanted to give a gift, and without any money, the only thing the boy had to give was his time and talent. He played his drum for the baby and the mother. The story states that the mother smiled and nodded her approval.

The boy gave the only thing he could. But beyond that, the boy gave!

I read a devotional each morning along with Bible verses. Kind of my morning ‘pick me up’ and something I look forward to. Yes, seriously. It gets me in the mood, the right frame of mind for the rest of the day.

One morning, I read a story about a minister and his parishioners, who were out delivering groceries to the elderly and needy. They came upon a house of a poor, little old lady. The delivery was a surprise. The minister rang the doorbell, the little lady opened the door, saw that it was the minister with bags and boxes of food.

The little lady said, “Oh, I’m so happy you came by. I meant to bring something last Sunday, but I forgot. Let me go get it for you!”

The minister, shocked, surprised and probably dumbfounded, waved the workers back to their vehicles. The lady brought a can or two of food and handed it to the minister, who thanked her for her generosity. She smiled, thanked him for stopping by, and she shut the door. The minister took the food and added it to the collection.

She had no idea she was the intended beneficiary. Her heart only told her to contribute, to give. Like the little shepherd boy, she gave what she had in the best way she could.

Thursday is one of my favorite holidays. In many ways, I enjoy it more than Christmas. You see, the whole point of Thanksgiving is to do just that: Give Thanks. And one cannot do that without a Thankful Heart.

What we give in the way of words or actions, and that which we withhold by way of words or actions, comes from one’s heart. A thankful heart gives more. We feel it. There is joy in the giving, and we feel joy in receiving.

I contend that one’s actions and one’s words come directly from one’s heart. In fact, words and actions are an indication of the character and the being of that person. Think about that for a minute: how can someone with an evil heart give a meaningful good gift? How can someone with an evil heart say a truly kind and loving word? I don’t think it is possible. Yes, they will try, but I believe (and I hope and pray) we are savvy enough to pick up on the insincerity of the gift or word.

So, I’m asking that this season, this holiday of Thanksgiving, we look at not only what we have, the gifts and all the good things that have been dealt to us, but we look at our words and our actions. Are what we say and do reflective of the heart that resides within us? Can we do more? Can we do better? In addition to being grateful for what we have, can we share that gratefulness to others in a kind, compassionate, and meaningful way? Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference! 

To My Readers: 
Connect with me on Social Media: 
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor 

My newest book, Betrayed, is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You will find the link for Amazon at: https://amzn.to/2EKHudx

The book blurb is as follows: 
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, and no one is talking. A promise is made and kept, but could result in the death of a fifteen-year-old boy. A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old boy.

Betrayed was featured in a Blog Tour. The idea is each day, a writer/blogger/reviewer would post a review. I was so pleased with the response. Some of the reviews from that tour are:

"Excellent pacing, intriguing characters, and an action-packed plot line. Don't miss this one!" @jessicaxbelmont

"Well written and with real heart and honesty this is a beautiful and moving story about survival and kinship." @ramblingmads

"An action-packed thriller that grabbed my attention from the start. ... I thoroughly enjoyed the pace of this book and getting to know all the characters." @ShazzieRimmel

"I was on the edge of my seat and holding my breath as I waited for these characters to get through the latest scrape." @MyBookishBliss

"The story whilst it’s a hunt for a missing friend also shines a light on teens who are struggling to find their place in the world." @MachinSharronm1

"Joseph Lewis has tactfully dealt with some difficult themes, and still managed to squeeze a nice amount of action and mystery into this novel." @caathycastling

Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards! 
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm 
      
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay. Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696       

Caught in a Web is now available in Audio format. You can find it at: https://www.beaconaudiobooks.com/audiobookreleases/high-school-drug-rings-gangs-and-revenge-are-all-encompassing-in-caught-in-a-web-by-joseph-lewis

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives: 
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis   
  
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives: 
Six men, each more dangerous than the next, escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis  
         
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis            

Photos Courtesy of Priscilla du Preez and Unsplash.

 

 

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe