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.

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 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

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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

Thwart the Enemy

Currently, I am reading a novel about World War II. Although the story has nothing to do with the resistance fighters of the war who often gave their lives to thwart the enemy, that’s what I’m thinking about today.

World War II freedom fighters did everything they could to defeat the enemy and stop the forces of evil. As I ponder those brave men and women, I wonder, to what lengths do we, as Christ followers, go to thwart the enemy, Satan, and stop his forces of evil?

The freedom fighters blew up bridges to keep the enemy from crossing and gaining ground. What are we willing to blew up to keep the enemy from gaining ground? Are we willing to remove the things in our lives which easily hand ground over to the enemy? Are we willing to get rid of the things in our lives which are contrary to God’s Word?

Resistance fighters flattened tires to slow down the enemy, and perhaps, gain time to warn those in harm’s way. Are we willing to do whatever it takes to slow down the enemy’s attempts to destroy others? Are we willing to warn others about Satan’s attempts on their life?

Those working in enemy factories often threw scraps of metal into the machinery to stop the assembly line production. Although the Bible can in no way be compared to scraps of metal, how often do we explain the Scripture to others to thwart the enemy, and slow down his attempts to create more chaos and condemnation?

Gasoline was siphoned from enemy vehicles. Gun powder was drained from explosives. Railways the enemy used were blown up. Telegram wires were cut. Weapons the enemy of God uses to advance his agenda of world domination need to have the power siphoned, drained, blown up, and cut to render them powerless.

To do that, we must put on the whole armor of God to withstand the enemy’s attacks. We must fill our lives with what is good, honorable, true, pure, and holy, and think on those things.

All of this, and much more, was done during World War II by resistance fighters to make sure the enemy was stopped.

Just like the brave men and women of the resistance groups of World War II, we face a powerful enemy, but not one who is invincible. We face an enemy who has already been defeated by the power of our Resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Victor of the Battle.

Jesus defeated hell, sin, Satan and death. The enemy has no power except what God grants.

To be sure, a war is being fought. The stakes are high. Everyday the enemy tries to advance and gain more ground. He is relentless in his pursuit of sowing evil. He will use any and all methods he feels necessary to meet his goal.

And as those whose Commander is the God of Heaven’s Army, we must use any and all methods necessary through the power of the Holy Spirit in us to make sure Satan fails.

What tactics do you use to thwart the enemy?

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Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. 1 Peter 5:8 (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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Pause for Poetry-Be Not Anxious

mountain lake

Be Not Anxious

Annie Johnson Flint

I cannot change the yesterday when I distrusted Thee,

Though all my fears unfounded proved, and shame me now as then;

I cannot promise that my faith will last throughout the night,

Or that, when Thy tomorrow comes, I will not doubt again.

But grant, O faithful Lord and true, that I may trust Thee now,

Just now, each moment of each hour of this Thy present day;

That, looking backward, I may read the record of the past,

And, forward, see Thy steadfast word light all the future way.

With Memory to guard the rear and Faith to lead the van,

And all Thy tested promises like beacon lights to shine,

How can I dread that demon shape of anxious, faithless fear?

For he shall lose his power when I fully trust in Thine.

Annie Johnson Flint

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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When God Provides

motel no vacancy signThere are dramatic stories of how God provided for someone’s needs when the situation seemed hopeless. 

No food in the cupboard and a bag of groceries appear on the doorstep.

The need for a transplant donor and one becomes available just in time.

Someone knows someone who knows someone and a job is secured before the last penny from the last paycheck has been spent.

While you may have never participanted in anything you’d call dramatic, I’m sure if you look back, you’ll see God’s hand always present, large or small, providing in ways only he can.

A time I feel for certain God provided for my parents, brother, and me was when we traveled back to the States from Panama after visiting Sissy and Chief in the Canal Zone.

The Miami, Florida hotel clerk informed my dad there were no available rooms. It was late, Dad, and the rest of us, were tired after our flight. This wasn’t the first hotel we’d tried to find a room at and the prospects for finding a room for the night did not look good.

As my dad turned away, the hotel clerk called him back. Seems he just so happened to have a room left after all.

Now, I know finding a hotel room does not rank up there with receiving a transplant donor, but the point I’d like to make is this. We need to keep our eyes open to see God’s hand at work in our lives.

There’s also been the time I thought I lost my wallet. Pilot and I looked all over and couldn’t find it. Until…I looked one more time in my purse, of all places, and there it was.

God doesn’t always work in dramatic ways, but he is always at work.

And don’t you think he’d appreciate it if we thanked him for the things we consider small, just as much as we thank him for the things we consider big?

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And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

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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Photo by KEEM IBARRA on Unsplash

The Lines Between Us Book Review

Amy Lynn Green weaves a little known fact from World War II into a story of mystery and intrigue within the pages of The Lines Between Us in a masterful way that keeps the reader turning the page.

Women’s Army Corp PFC Dorie Armitage has no problem with deception and lies. As long as she’s the one handing them out. When her brother Jack is harmed in an accident as a conscientious objector smokejumper volunteer in Oregon, she does whatever it takes to discover the truth of what happened.

The Lines Between Us takes twists and turns as Dorie and her brother’s best friend, Gordon, also a conscientious objector smokejumper, work together to get to the uncomfortable truth of what really happened to Jack.

Filled with an array of interesting historical facts and characters who must make peace with the choices they made, The Lines Between Us is a great read for fans of historical fiction written well.

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

It Is Never Too Late To Do God’s Will

older man with sonHave you ever felt like perhaps it’s too late to do God’s will?

In Christine Caine’s book, Unexpected, she relates the story of Caleb, showing it is never too late to do God’s will.

Right now, in this season of my life, I’ve questioned whether it’s time to move on past certain dreams I’ve long held or keep pressing on. Christine’s recounting of Caleb pressing on even into his eighties, proves it’s never too late to pursue the call God has on our life.

We remember Caleb as one of two spies who, along with Joshua, entered the Promised Land, saw the giants, and announced, “No problem. With God on our side, we can take them. Those giants are gonna fall.”

Unfortunately, the people believed the fearful accounts of the other ten spies, refused to take the land, and wandered for another forty years in the wilderness.

Christine says:

During all those wilderness years, he kept believing. And he kept himself vitally alive — spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally — eager to possess what God had promised him. Over the course of four decades, he never let go of the promise that Hebron was his. His attitude was all in — he looked to the future with nothing but hope and courage.

Caleb never quit. He refused to allow himself to stop believing he’d reach the Promised Land, even after four decades of trying. He refused to sit back and rest on previous victories. He held firm to the belief it was never too late to see God’s promise fulfilled.

When Caleb was eighty-five years of age, Joshua gave him the land of Hebron as the Lord commanded. But first, Caleb had to drive out three clans of the descendants of Anak. That fierce giant who stopped the Israelites from entering forty years earlier.

Caleb was prepared to take his rightful place in the Promised Land.

He put in the hard work to reach it.

He didn’t give up when opposition pressed against him.

He could have retired and let others fight the battles, but he didn’t.

He fought for his Promised Land.

How willing are we to keep fighting, and truly believe it’s never too late to do God’s will?

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Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” Numbers 13:30

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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Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Walk on Water

row boat on waterAndrew Peterson wrote a song which said, “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.” Shortly after, books popped up with the same title, based on the Bible story of Peter walking to Jesus on water.

How many of us would love to have the faith to walk on water? But there’s a catch. In order to walk on water, we’ve got to haul our self out of the safety of the boat. We have to take that first scary step into liquid.

We remember the story of Jesus walking on the water to the disciples’ boat during a storm. At first glance, the disciples believed he was a ghost. When Peter realized it was the Lord, he decided to get out of the boat and walk across the water to him.

All went well until the waves began to lap around Peter’s knees, and he took his eyes off Jesus.

Jesus asked Peter, “Oh, ye of little faith. Why did you doubt?”

Why did he doubt? Why do we doubt? Why was his faith small? Why is our faith small?

In Mark Batterson’s book, The Circle Maker, he says, The key to getting out of the boat is hearing the voice of God. If you’re going to get out of the boat in the middle of a lake in the middle of the night, you better make sure that Jesus said, “Come.” But if Jesus says, “Come,” you better not stay in the boat.

I used to be rather fearless, but I’m not so inclined these days. Decades ago a friend and I climbed up an open look-out tower on a small Native American mound on an island in the middle of the St. John’s River in Florida.

As we approached the top, I stopped and latched onto the metal rail like my life depended on it, bent forward, and waited for the earth to stop shaking. Vertigo, compliments of an inner ear nerve imbalance, gripped my body and I knew for sure I was going to careen to the ground in a broken heap.

My friend looked at me, asked if I was okay, then said, “I’ve never known you to wimp out of anything before.”

Just as my vertigo prevented me from going any further up that ladder to see the view only possible from way above the ground, our fear oftentimes stops us from climbing to the heights Jesus wants us to reach. It freezes us, and keeps us from putting one leg after the other over the side of the boat, and stepping on top of the water.

We wimp out.

Jesus wants us to experience a life of faith in him. He wants us to achieve more than we could ever imagine. He wants us to remember he is right here with us, holding our hand when the waves threaten to pull us under. He wants us to get out of the boat when he says, “Come.”

If we allow fear to keep us in our personal safe boat, we’ll never walk on water.

Are there times you’ve stepped out of the boat in faith, even when you were frightened?

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 Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:27-31 (NIV)

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!

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Gluten-free King Ranch Chicken Recipe

King Ranch ChickenThis gluten-free King Ranch Chicken blends shredded chicken with Rotel tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream to create a wonderful Mexican-flavored dish.

  • 1 pound chicken, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes
  • 8 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 5 cups tortilla chips
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • chili powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Chop chicken. Season with chili powder. Brown in hot oil.

Remove chicken from skillet.

Add butter, diced onion, and bell pepper. Soften.

Add chicken broth and simmer.

Mix corn starch in 2 Tbsp water until smooth. Pour mixture into skillet. Stir until thickened.

Drain the tomatoes and add to mixture.

Remove from heat.

Add chicken, sour cream and 1/2 of cheese. Stir well.

Layer tortilla chips and chicken. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake 15 minutes.

Top with green onions and serve.

Enjoy!

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

What To Do With Broken Things?

rocking chair on porchWith all the DIY shows nowadays, I wonder, what to do broken things?

How do you handle the broken things in your life which require repair? Do you throw them away? Put them in the closet, garage, basement, attic and forget about them? Fix them?

I’ve done all of the above. Some of the broken things were able to be repaired. Some weren’t. Some are still waiting.

Before Pie was born, a family friend gave me a small antique reed-bottom rocker. I love love love that chair. After a while though, some of the reeds worked themselves loose. The chair needed to be repaired. The restoration job was done by a professional.

I also have one of my grandfather’s old cane-bottom rockers. The bottom is worn out, and the rocker slats are flat after the many years it sat on my grandparent’s front porch. That rocker is in our garage where it has hung for years.

Like I said, some things get repaired. Some are still waiting.

But what about the brokenness of our lives? What do we do with that? Do we stuff our hurts deep down inside and act like nothing’s wrong? Do we live with the brokenness, allow it to define us, and make us feel unworthy?

Do we rewind the tapes of our failures over and over and over until we believe no one would like us if they really knew what we’d done?

Because God created us, he already knows all about our faults, broken places, and shattered dreams. He wants us to bring all our broken pieces to him. In his hands, God can do the necessary repairs. He’s the restoration professional.

God won’t throw us out. He won’t put us in the basement or attic and forget about us. He will restore us and make us much better than we ever thought possible.

What do you do with the broken things in your life? Hang onto them, hoping to repair them someday, throw them away, or set to work restoring what was broken?

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.

Yet there is one ray of hope: his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. Lamentations 3:21-23 (TLB)

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

I wish you well.

Sandy

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