Gluten-free Shrimp Subs

shrimp subThese super simple gluten-free shrimp subs are a tasty, quick summer meal.

  • 5 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 stems green onion sliced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dill seed
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (Add juice a little at a time to reach consistency you prefer. Careful not to let it become too runny.)
  • 1 lb cooked shrimp-peeled and deveined (Frozen shrimp works great. Thaw 15 minutes in a bowl of water, then pat dry.)
  • Gluten-free sub rolls or gluten-free hot dog buns

Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, celery, green onion, garlic powder, dill seed, and lemon juice.

Add shrimp. Stir gently to coat.

Divide shrimp mixture onto rolls.

Enjoy!

I wish you well.

Sandy

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

The Northern Drive Cowboy Poetry

man on horsebackIt’s been a while since I’ve posted any Cowboy Poetry, so I figured today would be a great day to post The Northern Drive by Brad Curtis. You can find it in his book of Christian cowboy poems, He Holds the Reigns. If you’d like to read more of his poems here on the blog, how about The Last Ranch Revival, the story of Jonah or Cowboy in Snakeskin Boots about Ol Devil Red, Satan.

The Northern Drive

When the rooster crowed

The bunkhouse came alive

Time to get ready

For the big northern drive

 

The drive was months away

Sometime in early spring

That would give us time

To work on a new string

 

Yep, they were green broke

Rough as a prickly pear

They’d be top notch

Before spring was here

 

The herd was winterin’ well

They had plenty of water and grass

Yep, we’d be pushin’ North

Just waitin’ on winter to pass

 

Building a mighty herd

Like no other in the land

To ride for the Flyin’ J

You had to be a top hand

 

We’d ride into the scrub brush

Gather up a stray

Slap ’em with a hot iron

Make ’em part of the Flyin’ J

 

Then one night at chow

The Boss said, I’m ridin’ on

I’m leavin’ you a helper

He’ll be here when I’m gone

 

Now boys no need to worry

I’m headed to the northern land

Gone to build a new ranch

For all those ridin’ for The Brand

 

See boys, my dad

Well, he owns a very large spread

One way up north

Away from Devil Red

 

Boys, you believed in my dad

When he brought you to the Flyin’ J

He was always fair with you

And let every ol’ cowboy stay

 

When he made me Ramrod

I’ve always shot straight

So I’ll be back for you

I just don’t know the date

 

Just be ready for the drive

Keep addin’ to my herd

Goin’ to build a new ranch

Boys, you have my word

 

The night before Christ’s crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples he was going away. He told them not to worry, though. They trusted God. They could also trust him. What he said was true.

Jesus was going to prepare a place for them — and for us. A place in heaven where there is no more tears, pain, sorrow, or death. A glorious place in the Father’s presence.

When everything is ready, Jesus will return for us. It’s a guarantee. All those who belong to him will live with him forever in the place he is preparing. No one but the Father knows when that time will be, so we need to be ready.

While we wait, we are to be about the Father’s business. Like the poem says, we need to keep adding to the herd.

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.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” John 14:1-4 (NLT)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Take Your Choice

desertTake your choice.

The thirteenth chapter of the book of Genesis tells us Abram, soon to be renamed Abraham by God, told his nephew Lot, “The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate.”

Although Abram had every right to choose where he would live and send Lot elsewhere, that’s not what he did. Abram trusted God enough to know whichever section of the land Lot choose, God would continue to be with Abram and provide exceedingly more than necessary.

Abram had proof of God’s faithfulness. He had proof of God’s favor. Abram did not need to press his advantage over his nephew as elder of the family.

He did not need to remind his nephew how greatly Lot had benefited from Abram’s generosity. Abram simply put his future in God’s capable hands and trusted him. The same way he did the day he left his home for someplace God would show him.

Where Abram was generous, Lot was selfish.

Lot chose the best of the land. In doing so, he pitched his tent among the ungodly of Sodom and Gomorrah. If we remember the final days of these two cities, we remember things did not go well. Think fire, brimstone, and a pillar of salt.

By choosing the best land when Abram told Lot to take his choice, Lot showed unbelief in Abram’s God to provide. Lot’s choice showed a spirit of greediness and pride. I also believe it showed a lack of gratefulness for all Abram had done for Lot. 

As I ponder this story of Abram and Lot, I wonder how many times, like Lot, we’ve chosen poorly when God tells us to take our choice.

How many times have we looked over the land of God’s provision, and felt there might not be enough to sustain us?

How many times have we been gripped by fear, and pitched our tent among the ungodly?

How often have we thought of ourselves first, been greedy, acted selfishly, and given little regard for the needs of others?

Instead of behaving like Lot when Abram told him to take his choice, perhaps we should behave more like Abram.

Perhaps we should trust God enough to know he will provide for us, regardless of where another’s choice leaves us.

Have you seen that to be true in your life?

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’ll tell you what we’ll do. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate. If you want that part over there to the east, then I’ll stay here in the western section. Or, if you want the west, then I’ll go over there to the east.” Genesis 13:9 TLB

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Way of a Christian Book Review

The Way of a Christian: Life Lessons from Pilgrim’s Progress-a 90-Day Devotional is an intriguing devotional.

Using John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress, which was published in 1678 after he spent twelve years in prison for refusing to give up his spiritual mission, each devotion pulls a quote from Part I of Bunyan’s book, discusses how it relates to a Christian’s life today, explains what’s going on at this point in The Pilgrim’s Progress, reinforces the devotion with scripture references, offers several questions for reflection, and ends with a prayer. 

The introduction to this devotional book states its purpose is to show the transcendent and eternal truths contained in Bunyan’s story. I believe it achieves exactly that.

The reader is encouraged to read The Pilgrim’s Progress along with the devotional. Although it is not necessary to read the book along with the devotional, it is interesting to do so. When I received my copy, I pulled my 1933 edition of Bunyan’s book from the shelf and started reading.

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 July Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Coincidence or God-ordained Incidence?

small boy and girlHave you ever wondered if what just happened was a coincidence, or if it was a God-ordained incidence?

I know I’ve experienced such times. What I’m learning is, more likely than not, God orchestrated those times for his purposes. I may not have seen it as such when the event happened, but looking back, I could see God’s hand at work.

That’s what happened to Moses when God met him at the Burning Bush in the wilderness. God told Moses to go back to Egypt. God had a plan. His plan included sending Moses to Egypt. From there, Moses would lead God’s people out of slavery. He would lead them to the Promised Land.

God had a plan. Moses had excuses.

One by one, Moses told God why he wasn’t the best candidate for the job. One of the excuses Moses gave was that he was not an eloquent speaker. He didn’t see himself as the right man to speak on God’s behalf to Pharaoh. Even after God assured Moses God would give him the words to say, Moses balked.

Finally, God told Moses he would send Moses’ brother, Aaron, with Moses, since Aaron spoke well. As soon as God agreed to send Aaron, who should appear on the horizon in the middle of nowhere? Aaron. Right on cue.

Coincidence? I don’t think so. More like a God-ordained incidence.

Before God and Moses had their conversation, God told Aaron to go into the wilderness to meet his brother. Because Aaron obeyed, he arrived at the exact moment God intended.

God planned it all along. It was not a happenstance. It wasn’t a coincidence. It was God’s orchestrated plan from the beginning.

God offered Moses the opportunity to be his spokesperson. Still, God knew Moses well enough to know Moses wouldn’t want to go alone. God knew Moses would need Aaron at his side to accomplish God’s plan of deliverance for the Israelites.

After Aaron arrived, God informed both men of his plan for their journey to Egypt. With the two brothers on board, God’s plan to deliver his people began to take shape.

It took forty years for the Israelites to reach the Promised Land. Neither Aaron nor Moses lived to see that day. Even so, their initial meeting at the Burning Bush was no coincidence. It was a God-ordained incidence.

The next time something happens in our lives which may be considered coincidence, perhaps we should look closer. It just might be a God-ordained incidence instead.

When have you had an event occur which others think is a coincidence, but you felt was God-ordained?

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.

Meanwhile the Lord had said to Aaron, “Go into the desert to meet Moses.” So he went to meet him at the holy mountain; and when he met him, he kissed him. Then Moses told Aaron everything that the Lord had said when he told him to return to Egypt; he also told him about the miracles which the Lord had ordered him to perform. Exodus 4:27-28 (GNT)

You can find my June 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!

Giving Margin for Lament

Bible open to the PsalmsToday’s guest post, Giving Margin for Lament, written by Anthea Kotlan, first appeared on antheakotlan.com.

Everyone I know experienced loss in recent years. Job loss, death, illness, cancellation of special events, long months of separation from loved ones, financial struggles, depression, the strain on marriages, anxiety, and more rained in abundance. After loss, I am often surprised by the unrelenting nature of grief.

What do I do when faced with a sad situation, a significant loss, or a painful transition?

I believe there is a need, hard-wired into our soul, to grieve, process, and lament pain. Stuffing it down only lengthens the healing pathway or avoids it entirely.

Psalm 42 is written as a lament. It begins with the vivid picture of a thirsty animal.

1As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
 for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:1-2 ESV

The Master Designer of humans created me with a need for Him—my soul thirsts and hungers to be in God’s presence. Yet, shame, guilt, sadness, and depression far too often keep me from running to the only one who can fill my needs. I might even try to satisfy myself with people and things, but only God can water my parched soul.

My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.

Psalm 42:3-4 ESV

In times of deep grieving, my tears have genuinely been my food day and night. Sometimes well-meaning friends offer empty platitudes or pointed questions that provide no hope or encouragement. While I long to gather in God’s house, I’m pouring out what little energy I might have left on my grief journey. The steps in processing grief must be taken one by one. Rushing back into a festival or celebration would be disorienting until the work of grieving is completed.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation
[c] and my God.

My soul is cast down within me; therefore, I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Psalm 42:5-6 ESV

Part of any grieving journey requires soul searching and exploring why. Asking God hard questions can help. My feelings surprise me. Hope is found in God and serves as a handhold on the dark pathway.

Can I call to mind times of God’s faithfulness in my life? Making a list might bring a fresh spring of encouragement. The psalmist recalls the unchanging landmarks in the land where he lives as he travels the uncertain territory of processing grief. What are the places where God has shown himself large and active in my life? Shall I place a stone of remembrance to bear testimony of what He has done for me?

How about you? Do you need to travel a journey of grief? Do you need to mark the pathway with stones of remembrance?

PRAYER

Thank you, God, that you provide a map for traveling the pathway of grieving. You give abundant margin for me to bring all my deepest and darkest feelings to you. You are always available to hear my cries. You never tire of reminding me of what you have done for me. Help me to travel the grieving pathway at your pace. Not running ahead or giving up but moving ever forward to great healing that can only come from you. AMEN

For over thirty years, Anthea Kotlan has served as a women’s ministry leader in the church and community. She has a passion for discipleship and encouraging women to walk confidently in their God-given calling. She designs women’s retreats, teaches Bible studies, writes, and enjoys speaking at events. Recently, she began serving on a church plant team in Conroe, Texas with her husband, a bi-vocational priest. Every chance she gets, she spends time laughing with her two adult daughters or snuggling her two grandchildren. Check out Anthea’s blog for weekly soul-tending devotionals from the Psalms. antheakotlan.com 

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.

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Follow the Directions

frying panIf you have followed this blog for long, then you know Pilot is the one at our home who cooks. He is creative, innovative, and an expert chef in the kitchen. All things I am not.

He likes to experiment. I do not. I follow the directions of a recipe no matter how many times I have made it. I figure if the recipe tastes good the first time I make it by following the directions, why improvise?

Recently, this difference in cooking and following the directions of a recipe surfaced. Pilot made a recipe I have made and loved for almost fifty years. Yep. That long.

When I took the first bite, I realized something was off. It didn’t taste right. I asked Pilot if he followed the recipe. Yes he did.

I took another bite. Again, I asked, “Are you sure you followed the recipe?”

Again, Pilot replied, “Yes.”

Maybe so, but I wanted to make sure.

We pulled out three copies of the recipe. My original hand-written recipe card, and two church cookbooks I submitted the recipe to. Each recipe was the same. Step by step. No deviations in either one.

I looked around the kitchen counters. One important part of this recipe was missing. A lid to cover the pan. Small thing, perhaps, but covering the pan for five minutes is part of the directions in the recipe.

Easy enough to skip over. Pilot had a good reason not to cover the pan. But without a lid covering the pan, the juice from the tomatoes in the recipe would not stew. If the tomatoes did not stew, they would not create juice. If the tomatoes did not create juice, the recipe would not taste the way I believed it should.

I tell you this story for one reason. Sometimes we may not think we need to follow the directions written down for us in the Bible. If we think that, we’re wrong.

When we do that, we might think we have good reasons for skipping something, adding something, or removing something.

Maybe we think we can improvise to suit our lifestyle. Or maybe we want to be a little creative. We add a touch of this or remove a smidge of that. We might even want to skip a few steps altogether.

We don’t particularly care for the part in Deuteronomy that talks about holiness, so we decide to disregard it.

That one area in Jesus’ sermon on the mount feels a little restrictive, so we decide to improvise to suit our needs.

And Paul’s letters on church conduct? Oy, vey.

The Bible is God’s Living Word. It is both prescriptive—explaining how we are to live, and it is descriptive—describing events that occurred.

In neither case are we to add to it, nor are we to subtract from it. So let’s decide to follow the directions, all of them, and not skip any steps.

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.

So be careful to obey all the commands I give you. You must not add anything to them or subtract anything from them. Deuteronomy 12:32 NLT

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Apostle’s Sister Book Review

Filled with biblical historical research, The Apostle’s Sister by Angela Hunt tells the story of Saul of Tarsus and his sister Aya, and their lives in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion and Paul’s conversion to The Way.

This is the fourth book in Angela Hunt’s Jerusalem Road series. You do not need to read the previous books to understand The Apostle’s Sister.

Aya has a gift for singing and wants to use it. As a Jewish woman in Jerusalem, her options for using her gift are limited. After she finds a way to use her talent, her brother’s decision to leave his seat in the Sanhedrin, and devote himself to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, complicates her life in ways she never imagined.

At the back of the book the author explains her reasons for some of the details she includes in her book, along with pages of references for her research.

At times I felt the author’s research overshadowed the story. I didn’t really connect with Aya or Saul. The character I enjoyed most was a minor character.

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 June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry-Hold On My Heart In Your Believing

meadow lakeHold On My Heart In Your Believing

selected from Streams in the Desert.

Hold on, my heart, in your believing-

Only the steadfast wins the crown:

He who, when stormy winds are heaving,

Parts with his anchor, will go down;

But he who Jesus holds through all,

Will stand, though Heaven and earth should fall.

Hold on! An end will come to sorrow;

Hope from the dust will conquering rise;

The storm foretells a summer’s morrow;

The Cross points on to Paradise;

The Father reigns! So cease all doubt;

Hold on, my heart. Hold on, hold out.

selected from Streams in the Desert.

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.

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Three Murderers

sad manHave you ever wondered how God could possibly use you? If God could use three murderers, then he can use each of us.

Maybe you’re the mother of young children and your days revolve around them and their needs. Maybe you work all day at your paying job. Perhaps you’re retired and feel a little used up. It could be you are somewhere else along this continuum, and wonder how could God possibly use me?

When we look in the Bible, we see God used all kinds of people in all stages of life. From every tribe and nation. Young. Old. Middle-aged. Married. Single. Widowed. Greek. Jew. Free. Slave.

God even used three murderers in a mighty way.

Don’t believe me? Well, what about Moses, David, and Paul?

Murderer number one.

As Pharoah’s daughter’s adopted son, Moses was a prince living in Pharoah’s palace. He had every privilege imaginable. Acts 7:22 tells us Moses was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was powerful in both speech and action.

After witnessing an Egyptian taskmaster beat a Hebrew slave, Moses went into a rage and killed the Egyptian. When he realized his actions were witnessed, Moses fled Egypt.

Moses ran away and lived in the desert tending his father-in-law’s sheep. There he stayed for forty years until God called to him from a burning bush. God sent Moses back to Egypt. In doing so, God used a murderer to lead his chosen people out of bondage. God used a murderer to lead his people to the Promised Land of Canaan.

Murderer number two.

As Israel’s King, what David commanded be done was done. It did not matter whether what David commanded was just or not. Such was the case when David learned Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, was pregnant with David’s child.

When Uriah’s loyalty prevented him from doing what David hoped Uriah would do in David’s scheme to hide his sin, David sent word to his generals. Put Uriah at the front of the battle. Then pull back so that he is killed.

The baby died, but God wasn’t finished with David. David and Bathsheba’s next child, Solomon, was one of Jesus Christ’s ancestors.

Murderer number three.

As a pharisee of Pharisees, Paul fervently sought out Christians to persecute and kill. He felt in doing so, he was honoring God and defending the Jewish faith.

But Paul was wrong. Christ met Paul on the road to Damascus in a blinding light. He asked Paul why he was persecuting him. Paul ended up writing thirteen (and possibly fourteen if you feel he wrote the book of Hebrews) books of the New Testament. Paul turned his zeal from persecuting Christians, into a zeal to preach Christ and him glorified.

Moses. David. Paul. Their past did not define them. God saw beyond their past to what he could accomplish through them.

Our past does not define us. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are brought into a relationship with him. Our sins our forgiven. Though they were like scarlet, they are now whiter than snow. We are defined as a beloved child of God. Christ looks beyond our past sin to what he can accomplish through us.

Yep. God used three murderers in a mighty way according to his purpose. And since God used these three murderers to fulfill his plans, don’t you think he can use us too, regardless of where we are at this moment in time? All it takes is a surrendered heart and saying yes to God.

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 we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

You can find my June 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!