Prime the Pump

hand water pumpAlthough my grandparents in Georgia had indoor plumbing, they also had an outdoor hand pump on the back porch. As someone who grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D. C., that pump fascinated me. If you are unfamiliar with the way a hand pump works, you have to prime the pump first.

To do that, you pour a glassful of water into the pump. If not, it won’t matter how much you pump the handle, you won’t produce a drop of water from the well. Once the water starts to flow, you need to keep pumping the pump handle until you have all the water you want.

But one thing to remember, make sure you fill a glass with water for the next time before you quit pumping. That is extremely important. You can’t pump water if you don’t have that water to get it started.

By now you may be wondering where I’m going with this, so I’ll tell you.

Love.

In 1 John, John goes a little bit around in a circle to tell us as children of God, we must love one another, because God is love, and love comes from God. Sort of like the water in a hand pump. We can ask God to help us love others, but it isn’t until we make the effort to love that it will be accomplished. We have to use our glass of love that came from God’s well and prime the pump with it, so God’s love will flow through us to others.

God takes that little glass of love we reserved from the love he gives, and brings up love from his never-ending well for us to give to others. Before you know it, the love is pouring freely.

We could stand at that pump all day long, pumping our little hearts out, but unless we prime the pump first, experience the love of the Father, we won’t draw anything from our well.

If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is made complete in us. That’s what John tells us.

As a child on my grandparent’s back porch, to my small arms, getting that water started was quite the chore. Sometimes, an older relative stepped in to help get the water flowing.

Sometimes, as a child of God, it is difficult to prime the pump to get the flow of love started. Especially when God calls us to love those who have hurt us, those co-workers or neighbors who drive us absolutely crazy, those who don’t share our religious belief, those who don’t share our values-political or otherwise. It can be difficult.

That’s when we call on the God who is love. The God who loved us first. The God who demonstrated his love for us the day he allowed his precious son to die in our place.

So, my friends, we may never have the opportunity to prime a hand pump to draw water, but since God so loved us, we do have the opportunity to prime the pump of his love and draw from his deep well. But when we do, it’s important to remember, you can’t pump water, or love, if you don’t have a glassful in the first place.

It’s a circle. God is love. Love comes from God. Since God loved us, we are to love others. If we love others, God lives in us, and his love is brought to fullness in us.

Have you ever primed a pump to draw water? If so, did you do it because you wanted to, or because you had to?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven. 1 John 4:7-10 (GNT)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

God is My Hiding Place Book Review

Based on the writings of Holocaust concentration camp survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, God is My Hiding Place is a collection of 40 timeless devotions which are as applicable today as they were when Corrie wrote them before her death on her 91st birthday in 1983.

Full of encouragement and simple truths, this is a devotional book to keep close by on a shelf to read over and over.

Within the 40 devotions are rich pull-out quotes gems to hold onto. One of my favorites is The center of God’s will is the safest place for me to be. In this devotion, Corrie relates how during the war, after she was released from Ravensbruck, a man asked Corrie to go back to the prison with him to seek release for a friend. Through circumstances while there, she realized this was not the work God had called her to. She says, We must be careful not to hold on to what we had when God calls us to move on.

But the devotional thought I hold dearest is this. When we are willing and obedient, He bestows upon us the wisdom, strength and courage of heaven. We are never too old to begin something new when we do it with Him.

I highly recommend God is My Hiding Place to all those in search of devotions to strengthen their faith.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry-Dear Restless Heart

Dear restless heart, be still; don’t fret and worry so;

God has a thousand ways His love and help to show;

Just trust, and trust, and trust, until His will you know.

 

Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God’s own smile,

His love can every wrong and sorrow reconcile;

Just love, and love, and love, and calmly wait awhile.

 

Dear restless heart, be brave; don’t moan and sorrow so,

He hath a meaning kind in chilly winds that blow;

Just hope, and hope, and hope, until you braver grow.

 

Dear restless heart, repose upon His breast this hour,

His grace is strength and life, His love is bloom and flower;

Just rest, and rest, and rest, within His tender power.

 

Dear restless heart, be still! Don’t struggle to be free;

God’s life is in your life, from Him you may not flee;

Just pray, and pray, and pray, till you have faith to see.

Edith Willis Linn

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buttons.

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God the Righteous Judge

balance scalesRight now, I’m reading through the Old Testament prophets. In these pages God, the Righteous Judge, lifted up and tore down kingdoms to accomplish his divine plan. He punished those who turned their lives against him, and blessed those who turned their lives toward him.

God was not to blame for handing down his judgement upon his people then, and he isn’t to blame for handing down his judgement now.

In one of Billy Graham’s devotions in his devotional, Hope for Each Day, Rev. Graham asks who’s to blame; the judge for sentencing the criminal, or the criminal for committing the crime? He goes on to ask if someone deliberately commits a crime and is caught, is the judge to blame for sentencing the criminal, or is the criminal to blame for the sentence he receives?

Yes. The judge is the one who hands down the sentence, but he did so by following the law. The judge is not the one who broke the law.

At the time of the Old Testament prophets, the Israelites worshiped multiple gods, made altars and sacrificed to those gods. Sometimes, they even offered their children as burnt sacrifices. They turned their back on the One True Living God and worshiped idols made by man. They still wanted and expected God’s blessing, but they wanted to do whatever they pleased while receiving it.

Time and time again, God sent warnings to his people. He gave them opportunity after opportunity to repent, get rid of the things in their lives that displeased God, and be restored to a relationship with him. But they refused.

God, The Righteous Judge, sent his rebellious people into captivity. He never stopped loving them, but there were consequences for their actions. His plan all along was to restore them to a relationship with himself, but it would be on his terms.

Like an earthly judge, God hands down the sentence and consequences we, the criminals, deserve. As in Billy Graham’s example, when we break God’s laws, we can’t blame God for the punishment we receive. It’s our fault we sinned, not God’s.

But thanks be to God, when we belong to Jesus and claim him as our Lord and Savior, we don’t have to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus took our debt upon his perfect sinless self and paid the debt we owed, but could never pay. He paid our sin-debt with his blood sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.

We deserve the punishment, but the Righteous Judge made a way for us to be spared when he didn’t spare his own son.

God loved the world so much he sent his only son to this world to die a horrible death for us. As the Righteous Judge, God is not to blame if we don’t accept his perfect gift.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

For God did not send His Son into the world to say it is guilty. He sent His Son so the world might be saved from the punishment of sin by Him. John 3:17 (NLV)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

A View Most Glorious Book Review

woman in the mountainsA View Most Glorious by Regina Scott is the story of Coraline Baxter, her quest to summit Mount Rainier to promote Votes for Women in 1893 Tacoma, Washington, and Nathan Hardee, the man who reluctantly agrees to guide her to the top. The stakes are as high as the mountain itself. If Cora fails, she must marry the man her mother is forcing on her. Not at all agreeable to Cora, so she must summit regardless of the hardship to do so.

Cora and Nathan’s relationship develops as they learn to depend on each other while they tackle the mountain together. And in the end, they each must decide what is most important.

If you enjoy historical fiction with a touch of romance and a hero and heroine to root for, than A View Most Glorious may just be the book for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Cowboy Poetry – Cowboy in Snakeskin Boots

cowboy bootsThe following poem, Cowboy in Snakeskin Boots, is written by Brad Curtis. If you’d like to read another of his poems here on the blog, how about The Last Ranch Revival and the story of Jonah? You can find this and other poems in Brad’s book of Christian cowboy poems, He Holds the Reigns.

Cowboy in Snakeskin Boots

Never been a soorier cowboy

Than ol’ Devil Red.

He started out as a puncher

On the big sky spread.

When he hired on

D.R. was the best.

Not a better cowboy

In all of the west.

Now when it came to ridin’,

D.R. was a champ.

A top hand for sure.

Not some saddle tramp.

Rope ’em on the run.

Turn one on a dime.

A cow didn’t have a chance,

When D.R. threw his twine.

Always packin’ iron,

He never had to draw.

Fast as blue lightnin’.

The quickest I ever saw.

Now this cowboy

Was perfect in every way.

Cowboyin’ was his life.

He’d do it for no pay.

But the longer he was there

Riding for The Brand,

The more he began to talk,

How he was the best in the land.

Then the day came

While breaking a bad hoss.

D.R. told the boys

I think I’ll be the boss.

He said, “Boys, I’m takin’ over.

Gonna rustle the herd.

My pistols are loaded.

You can pass the word.”

That’s when the Boss rode in,

Said, “D.R., I’ll break your pride.

You’re headed down below.

On the big sky, you’ll never ride.”

“You were my top hand.

Now you’re as sorry as can be.

You’ll work on a ranch,

But not one for me.”

“The ranch that you will work

Is hot as the sun.

No water anywhere.

Grass…well, there’s none.”

“Yep, you’ll be the boss

Of your own spread.

But it is a place

Where everything is dead.”

“So pack up your gear.

That nag you’re ridin’ you can take.

You’re headin’ down below,

You ol’ sorry snake.”

Brad Curtis

Just like Ol’ Devil Red in this cowboy poem, Lucifer thought he was hot stuff. Best in the land. His pride became his downfall. Satan figured he’d take over the reigns in heaven. He figured no one could stop him. But the LORD God Almighty, Ruler of Heaven and Earth, LORD of Heaven’s Armies, told the devil otherwise.

Satan rules alright, but not in heaven. That snakeskin boot wearer is destined to eat dust all his days in a land where there is no light. A land of eternal darkness absent from the Father’s glorious presence.

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How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground—mighty though you were against the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, “I will ascend to heaven and rule the angels. I will take the highest throne. I will preside on the Mount of Assembly far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14 (TLB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Gluten-free Fiesta Chicken Casserole Recipe

This gluten-free Fiesta Chicken Casserole recipe contains chicken, pasta, corn, shredded cheese, and black beans. Delicious.

  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked gluten-free Rotini pasta
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (or Mexican blend)
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15 oz can corn, drained
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 package Taco seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • cilantro and avocado for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook pasta as per directions.

Combine sour cream, salsa, Taco seasoning, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder.

Drain pasta. Add to sour cream mixture.

Add corn, beans, and chicken. Stir to combine.

Add 1 cup cheese.

Pour into baking dish.

Sprinkle remaining cup of cheese on top.

Cover with foil. Cook 20 minutes.

Remove foil. Cook additional 5 minutes.

Garnish with sour cream, salsa, cilantro, and avocado.

Enjoy!

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Envy and Comparison

statues at palace

Envy and comparison are not new.

The writer of Psalm 73 dealt with envy and comparison. He began his psalm stating God is good to those whose hearts are pure. Then the psalmist admits his envy took him close to the edge of the cliff.

But as for me, I came so close to the edge of the cliff. My feet were slipping and I was almost gone. For I was envious of the prosperity of the proud and wicked. Yes, all through life their road is smooth. (2-4)

When the psalmist looked at the prosperous people around him, he couldn’t understand. Their lives looked trouble-free. Why did God allow the wicked to prosper? The psalmist wanted a life like that.

They aren’t always in trouble and plagued with problems like everyone else. It is so hard to explain it–this prosperity of those who hate the Lord. (5, 14)

As the psalmist struggled with his feelings, he went into the LORD’s sanctuary to meditate. There, he thought about the future of these evil people. While in God’s presence, the psalmist realized all wasn’t as it seemed.

Then one day I went into God’s sanctuary to meditate, and thought about the future of these evil men. What a slippery path they are on. Their present life is only a dream. They will awaken to the truth as one awakens from a dream. (17-18, 20)

With this realization, the psalmist saw himself as a stupid animal. He’d been envious and jealous, when all that matter was his relationship with the Father. God held the psalmist right hand. God would keep right on guiding him all his life. When the psalmist life on earth ended, God would receive him into the glories of heaven.

Whom have I in heaven but you? My health fails, my spirits droop, yet God remains. He is the strength of my heart. He is mine forever. (25)

God remains. He is our strength. He is ours forever. (26)

But those refusing to worship God will perish, for he destroys those serving other gods. (27)

But as for me, I get as close to him as I can! I have chosen him and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways he rescues me. (28)

The writer of Psalm 73 figured out the cure for envy and comparison. Spend time with God. Realize the stupidity of envy. Acknowledge the faithfulness of God. Get as close to God as possible. And tell everyone about the wonderful ways God rescues.

What worked for the psalmist in combating envy and comparison centuries before Christ was born, works for us.

Whenever the twinge of envy raises its head, we should do what this psalmist did. Seek out God in his sanctuary. Draw close to the One who will never leave; the One whose opinion matters most.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

But as for me, I get as close to him as I can. I have chosen him and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways he rescues me. Psalm 73:28 (TLB)

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Image by Laurent Verdier from Pixabay.

Don’t Negate the Benefit

The other morning I read an article which said pistachio nuts can help lower triglyceride levels. Yay. I enjoy eating pistachio nuts, so this is good news.

Not too long after reading the article, I thought, now I can eat more pistachio ice cream. Yum. Maybe not. That would probably negate the benefit gained from eating pistachio nuts, don’t you think? It’s a nice thought, though.

As I considered this, I thought about how sometimes we take the good God permits, twist it to our liking, and negate the benefit we could gain from it. In 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23 Paul talked about food and drink. He said everything was permissible for him, but not everything was beneficial or constructive.

He went on to say everything was permissible for him, but he would not be mastered by anything. Although Paul was talking about food and drink in these instances, he said whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble. Seek the good of many instead of our own good.

Moderation. Restraint. Anything we overindulge in can negate the benefit.

Like me thinking about eating pistachio ice cream to lower my triglycerides. Or me buying one more writing journal, when I already have a shelf full I haven’t written in yet.

Overindulgence can become an addiction regardless of what we overindulge in. It doesn’t have to be food. What about overindulging in social media or television? While neither of these are necessarily wrong, too much can be. Given the past few years we experienced, I’d say many of us have weighed in heavy on the too much end of the scale with these two.

Those who have read this blog for any length of time know I post gluten-free recipes. I don’t eat gluten-free to follow a trend. I eliminate gluten from my diet because I am allergic to wheat. It literally makes me ill. The pain gluten causes me is not worth indulging in anything that contains it.

Yeah. I miss eating a lot of things I used to take for granted I could eat, but there are so many more gluten-free foods available now than there used to be. It isn’t quite as painful.

Like the teen aged fast-food worker said when I explained why I needed my meal without the bun, if he had to be gluten-free, he would tell God, “Take me, now. Because life wouldn’t be worth living anymore.” I believe he had southern biscuits and sausage gravy on his mind when he said that. I laughed, knowing it’s kinda how I felt hearing my initial gluten allergy diagnosis.

I doubt Paul had gluten on his mind when he said everything is permissible for him, but not everything is beneficial. However, whenever we face a choice, perhaps like Paul, we can say even though Christ may not have said no, that doesn’t mean it’s beneficial for us. Why negate the benefit of what he gives us?

Pistachio ice cream is permissible, but if I eat it to excess, and claim it is healthy because it has pistachios in it, I’m twisting something good to suit my desires. I’ve allowed it to get a grip on me I can’t easily stop when I want to.

Moderation. Restraint. In all things.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 I can do anything I want to if Christ has not said no, but some of these things aren’t good for me. Even if I am allowed to do them, I’ll refuse to if I think they might get such a grip on me that I can’t easily stop when I want to. 1 Corinthians 6:12 (TLB)

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!

The Healing of Natalie Curtis Book Review

The Healing of Natalie Curtis fictionalizes the true story of ethnomusicologist Natalie Curtis, and her quest to preserve songs of America’s Indians in the early 1900s.

In 1902 Natalie travels west with her brother and is introduced to the music of America’s Indians. As she works to preserve their music into a book, she learns of the US government’s Code of Offenses used in schools where Indian children, taken from their parents and placed into schools for assimilation, were punished for singing, dancing, or speaking their own language.

This book feels more like a biographical retelling of Natalie’s efforts to gather Indian songs as she appealed to President Theodore Roosevelt to repeal the government’s Code of Offenses, than it does a work of fiction.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my September Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy