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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why?

My daughter-in-law is having health problems and my husband and I are keeping the three grandchildren. My youngest grandson is two. He’ll be three at the end of May.

Last night, my husband boiled chicken and was taking it off the bone. The two-year-old climbed on a chair in the kitchen to watch him.

“What’s that?” he asked, pointing to the bones.

“That’s the bones,” my husband answered.

“Why do chickens have bones?” he asked.

“The bones help the chicken stand and walk.”

“Why do they stand?”

“That’s the way God made them,” my husband answered.

“Why did God make them that way?”

My husband sighed. “I don’t know. You’ll have to ask God.”

“I can’t. God’s not here.”

My husband laughed at this point and the conversation ended. It could have continued like this:

“God is here.”

“Why is God here?”

“Because he loves us.”

“Why does God love us?”

“Good question.”

Monday, February 27, 2012

None of My Business!

I’ve mentioned before that I love the quote, “It’s none of my business what others think of me.”

It just occurred to me that it is also none of my business what I think of myself.

Notice I didn’t say it’s none of my business what I know of myself. I should know my strengths and weaknesses and know if I am doing what the Bible teaches.

However, whether I think I’m good or bad at whatever I’m doing at the moment is irrelevant.

For example, Jesus says, “if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” I cannot say, I’m not good at sharing. Let someone else do this. Whether I think I’m good or bad at sharing is irrelevant.

Only what God says is relevant.

My feelings about my qualifications don’t amount to a hill of beans. God said it. I must do it.

Sometimes I may think “I’m just not good enough to do this work”—whatever this work happens to be. My thinking is totally irrelevant. I just have to move forward and do the best I can.

I just have to ignore the naysayers—and that includes myself.

I simply must forget what I think of myself and strain toward what is ahead . . . press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b-14

Monday, February 20, 2012

Surrender

Sometimes I think I’ve got this surrendering thing down. Then, something comes along that proves I have a ways to go.

This time it was my book signing. Apprehension set in. I’m a “Plan your work, work your plan” type and wanted all to be perfect.

Questions plagued me.

What if no one shows up? What if everyone shows up? How many books do I need? Do I need to order more? Should I provide refreshments? Who would help? What if we have too little? What if we have too much?

And then physical problems developed.

I’m exhausted. My back hurts. I feel too sick and weak to do this.

The week of the book signing arrived. Did God provide more energy? Did he remove my pain, relieve my worries?

Well, no. At least, not in a way we mere humans view things. He actually took away what little energy I had.

Wednesday, I developed a sore throat. Thursday, I had difficulty swallowing. Friday, I searched for a doctor and found I had strep.

I was too sick to care if I had enough books for my book signing on Saturday. I was too sick to care if anyone showed up or not. I was too sick to know if my back still hurt.

And, so, in a weird way, he did relieve my worries and take my mind off my pain.

When Saturday morning dawned, I felt somewhat better. The doctor told me I was not contagious and could continue with the book signing.

However, God wasn’t done yet.

Storms moved in and the county was placed under a tornado watch.

With thunderstorms around, many people would stay home. I no longer had to worry about too many people showing up. One more worry vanquished.

Now, I only had to worry if anyone would show up! However, with so many things beyond my control, I simply yielded to God on this one.

As I should have done all along with all my fears and concerns.

And God had my back. People did show up. Friends, family, and even a stranger or two braved the weather.

To me, the book signing was perfect. book signing

A large crowd did not overwhelm me.

A small crowd did not discourage me.

When I became too sick to carry the burden, God carried it for me. He made me raise my hands in surrender so that he could cradle me in his.

When I surrender all, he provides all.

A perfect plan. A perfect day. A perfect first book signing!

And all I had to do was surrender.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gluten-Free Biscuits

I don’t normally post recipes on my blog. This is the first one, as a matter of fact. I know many people are eating gluten free and thought some might find this of interest.

On Pinterest, I ran across a Seven-Up recipe for biscuits. I tried it with gluten-free Bisquick, and it was good but the biscuits were heavy and sweet. I decided to tweak the recipe. I do not have the exact amounts of each ingredients, but this is what I used, plus sour cream:

blogpic

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and melted about two tablespoons of Smart Balance in a iron skillet. I mixed together about six ounces of sour cream and about a fourth of a cup of mayonnaise with the Bisquick. I poured in enough club soda to reach the right consistency—moist to the point of stickiness, but not too sticky—while stirring.

I roll my biscuits by hand. I turn cold water on to a slow stream and keep my hands wet as I roll the biscuits. This is the way they looked before going into the oven:

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I baked the biscuits on the middle rack about fourteen minutes and turned on broil for a couple of minutes to brown the tops. This is the way they turned out:

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They were not as light as my regular biscuits but lighter than most gluten-free bread products. They do not taste exactly like my biscuits but are close!

Next time I’ll try my own gluten-free flours instead of the Bisquick mix, but I’ll definitely use this recipe again!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lion or Lamb?

Over two thousand years ago, someone observed that people seem to fall into one of four basic personality types. These were melancholic, sanguine, choleric, and phlegmatic. Today, most psychologists still recognize these four basic temperaments, now referred to as C for cautious (melancholic), I for inspiring (sanguine), D for domineering (choleric), and S for steadiness (phelgmatic). They have also been labeled as Guardians, Artisans,  Rationals, and Idealists.

Each personality type has certain strengths. For example, the C type plans his work and works his plan. The I with his outgoing ways inspires people. The D gets thing done. The S type is easy to get along with.

In the Gospels, Jesus has the perfectly balanced personality. We often hear him referred to as “The man with the plan.” Of course. Yet, he also inspired his followers. He persevered and was brave in the face of death. And, yet, throughout, he remained mild and meek. The CIDS was perfectly balanced in him.

JesusHowever, many followers of Christ today emphasize one part of his personality over another.

Today. let’s consider two seemingly opposite personality traits.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the Idealist, S, or phlegmatic temperament:

The phlegmatic temperament is fundamentally relaxed and quiet, ranging from warmly attentive . . . content with themselves and are kind. They are accepting and affectionate . . . They are consistent, relaxed, calm, rational, curious, and observant, qualities that make them good administrators. Phlegmatic 

Some today have Jesus pegged as a phlegmatic. Does the above sound like Jesus? Of course! He was kind and accepting and affectionate. That’s all true. But that’s not his entire personality. He also has the D-type personality.

Again, listen to this description:

The choleric temperament is fundamentally ambitious and leader-like. They have a lot of aggression, energy, and/or passion, and try to instill it in others. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic military and political figures were choleric. They like to be in charge of everything.  Choleric

Do we view Jesus in this light? Some people prefer the Phlegmatic Jesus, the one who is the people pleaser. We forget his energetic passion, his leadership, his willingness to confront the Pharisees and Sadducees.

His personality was one of balance. While loving and kind, he was also a vibrant, daring leader who inspired his disciples to stand with him against the darkness of the world.

He was both the perfect phlegmatic and the perfect choleric. He was the rational idealist. He was/is demanding, determined, submissive, and supportive all at the same time.

He was/is both lion and lamb.

Let’s grow to be like him and strive to improve on the personality temperament we may be lacking.

Let’s make it our goal to become more Christ-like!

(I’ll discuss the other two personality types in a later post.)

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Read, read, read. Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it.

Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window." ~William Faulkner




Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Give Me the Bible—But Which One?

What Bible version of the Bible should Christian writers use? Here are some things to consider.

How accurately is the version translated? Some versions are not translated at all but simply paraphrased. We need to be aware of that.

Another thing, does it matter who translated the particular version we’re using? To me, it does not. I look at the accuracy of the words.

We need to be aware that all the versions have been translated by man and thus will contain some mistakes. We need to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) That way we will know where the mistakes are located.

Some versions leave out verses found in other Bibles. These versions used the oldest manuscripts as the original source and do not include verses not found in those manuscripts. That does not make the version inaccurate as some contend.

We need to remember that older manuscripts have been found since the King James Version of the Bible was first printed and may be more reliable than the King James.

Still, some people refuse to use any Bible except the King James. A Bible salesman came to my aunt’s house one time.

“I don’t know what he was selling, but it wasn’t the Bible,” she told us later.

I don’t remember what version he was selling, but since it wasn’t the King James, she thought it wasn’t the Bible.

Here’s the thing. Jesus spoke to the people in common language, easily understood by all. I believe the King James is lovely to read, but I hesitate to use it as the only source in my writing. Many have difficulty understanding the archaic language. The Bible should not be inaccessible to some. That’s the exact opposite of what Jesus taught.

Jesus wanted his words to be understood by the common man.

Which version is best for doing this?

Well, I don’t know.

I like to read and study a variety of versions. I also like to use a BibleLexicon to get at the true meaning of a passage.

When I actually get down to the writing, there is another thing to consider and that’s copyright.

Most Bible versions are copyrighted.

Some might ask, what about the King James Version? While it is true it is in the public domain in the United States, notice this: In the United Kingdom, however, it is still copyrighted and is subject to an eternal Crown copyright. Permission to publish in England and Wales can be obtained by following the guidance in A Brief Guide to Liturgical Copyright, third edition(RTF file); permission to publish in Scotland requires contacting the Scottish Bible Board. Bible (King James)

This means if you sell books in the United Kingdom, you must receive permission to use verses from the King James.

I’ve listed some of the copyright of some versions I use below. More can be found here at BibleGateway: Copyright Information for Bible Versions

 

Copyright Information

NIV

The NIV text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, providing the verses do not amount to a complete book of the Bible nor do the verses quoted account for twenty-five percent (25%) or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted.

When the NIV is quoted in works that exercise the above fair use clause, notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page or opening screen of the work (whichever is appropriate) as follows:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Message

The Message text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic, or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses, without express written permission of the publisher, NavPress Publishing Group, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible and do not account for 25% or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted.
Notice of copyright must appear as follows on either the title page or the copyright page of the work in which The Message is quoted: "Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993

The ESV 

The "ESV"; and "English Standard Version" are trademarks of Good News Publishers. Use of either trademark requires the permission of Good News Publishers.

When quotations from the ESV text are used in non-saleable media, such as church bulletins, orders of service, posters, transparencies, or similar media, a complete copyright notice is not required, but the initials (ESV) must appear at the end of the quotation.

Publication of any commentary or other Bible reference work produced for commercial sale that uses the English Standard Version must include written permission for use of the ESV text.

Permission requests that exceed the above guidelines must be directed to Good News Publishers, Attn: Bible Rights, 1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187, USA.

Accuracy, copyright, ease in reading are all things to consider when we choose scripture from Bible versions in our writing. But still, how do we know which is the right one?

Study to show yourself approved . . . ! In other words, each of us must decide that through study and prayerful consideration.

Happy studying!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Reprove

Approve, reprove, disapprove? What should Christians do? What would Jesus do?

Some, and it seems more and more people each day, believe we should approve anything, except the most heinous of acts. They believe Jesus approved of the woman taken in adultery. Yet, he told her to “Go and sin no more.” He did not approve of her lifestyle.

Jesus said to not judge, and some believe Jesus is saying to never judge sinful behavior.

Yet, Jesus also said this: Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment. ~John 7:24

Jesus condemned hypocritical judging. He never said not to discern between right and wrong.

People want to live any way they choose, and they want Jesus to approve their behavior.

For example, I have an acquaintance who became involved in an affair. She told people, “Do not judge. This is between the Lord and me.”

Later, this acquaintance discovered a woman was having an affair with this same man plus a few other men as well.

Now, according to her reasoning, shouldn’t her reaction have been, “I cannot judge her. That’s between the Lord and her. It doesn’t concern me.”

As you can guess, that wasn’t her reaction. She went into a full tilt rant against the woman, calling her the vilest of names.

Sometimes we think we’re okay if we’re just a little better than our neighbor. Because this woman was in an adulterous relationship with one man, she believed her lifestyle was better than her “friend” who was involved in several adulterous relationships.

Others are not our standard.

Jesus is the standard. We must continually look into the words of the Bible to make sure our conduct is correct. And not only that. We must be open to reproof.

“You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. ~ Leviticus 19:17-18 (NASB)

Notice this: reprove your neighbor. (verse 17b)

The word translated reprove means : appoint, argue, chasten, convince, correction, dispute, judge .

 

jesusA primitive root; to be right (i.e. Correct); reciprocal, to argue; causatively, to decide, justify or convict -- appoint, argue, chasten, convince, correct(-ion), daysman, dispute, judge, maintain, plead, reason (together), rebuke, reprove(-r), surely, in any wise. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)  

How many Christians today are afraid to do this? We keep our mouths closed tightly because we are afraid of offending.

However, notice the next part of the verse: so you will not share in his guilt. (verse 17 c)

We are to reprove our neighbor so we will not be guilty.

As Christians, we are also to be open to reproof. Our fellow Christians are helpers to keep us on the straight and narrow path. They are to warn us of dangers when we stray.

Also notice verse 19: You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.

We reprove in a frank give-and-take conversation conducted with love as our underlying motive.

We reprove with the hope of one day approving.

We reprove with our own doorstep swept clean.

We reprove knowing we need reproving also.

We reprove because God tells us to.

We reprove because we love one another.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Information on the Book Signing

This is me in our local paper! I left out a very important thing. The books are available from Amazon and in ebook format from Barnes and Noble and the Apple Book Store. Thanks so much for all the support!

W2 Request IDsPicturefrompaper

 

This accompanied the picture:

Sheila Hollinghead lives in Covington County with her husband of thirty-two years, Carl. She has two grown sons, Ray and Lee Hollinghead, a daughter-in-law, the former Leigh Ann Meadows, and three grandchildren.

Sheila taught science for nineteen years, fourteen of those at Fleeta Junior High.

Both her parents were born and raised in Covington County. Her mother, Esta Hammett Odom of Opp, is eighty-eight. Her father, Ray T. Odom, deceased, was a career soldier. Sheila was born while he was stationed in Nuremburg, Germany. As an army brat, she has lived in Texas, New Jersey, France, Mississippi, and Georgia.

Sheila has two books published, Thundersnow: In the Shadow of the Cedar and Eternal Springs. She is working on the sequel to Thundersnow.

The following are excerpts from Eternal Springs:

Cherish: Memories

When I attended Troy University, music played daily and was broadcast across the quad in the middle of the campus.

One day, as I walked to class, I heard John Denver’s song of Country Roads for the first time. Tears coursed down my cheeks as I longed for the place from my childhood, the farm outside of Opp, Alabama where my grandmother lived.

It was a place where my cousins and I played in the barn, using square bales of hay to build forts, houses, or mazes.

It was a place filled with teasing from aunts and uncles, and the air was thick with laughter.

It was a place of fresh vegetables from the garden, fresh milk from a cow, and fresh meat from hog killings.

It was a place of playing outside all day in the fresh country air.

It was a place of cows and pigs, and the place I learned where baby pigs came from.

It was a place of delight at seeing newborn pigs, all pink and round and not at all like their long-snouted mother.

It was a place of my roots, a place near the farms where, for several generations, my ancestors had lived and struggled to grow crops and raise cows, pigs, and chickens.

It was a place where my family gathered for Thanksgiving and other holidays.

It was a place we ate our fill and then gathered by the fireplace to watch the flickering flames.

It was a place we cracked pecans on the bricks of the hearth while listening to my uncles trying to undo one another in the telling of jokes.

It was the place stories were told of days gone by.

It was the place I loved the most upon this earth.

It was the place I longed for when John Denver sang: Take me home, country roads, to the place I belong.

It is the place I came home to.

Cherish Our Prison

But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. ~Genesis 39:20-21 (NIV)

Have you ever felt imprisoned in your circumstances, circumstances beyond your ability to control and with no way out?

Many of us have felt this way at one time or another. It could be an illness or a bad job situation or the responsibility of being a caregiver. These and many other situations may feel to us like a prison. Let’s look to this sentence from Genesis 39 as an example of how to handle such times.

Notice this: “The Lord . . . granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden.” Joseph didn’t do anything special to merit that favor. God did it for him. Even when we are going through tough times, God is giving us favor and we may never open our eyes to see it.

I don’t know the conditions of the prison Joseph was in, but they were probably horrific—little food, filthy conditions, no bed to rest on, and brutal inmates. Even with the favor of the keeper, conditions were probably worse than anything we will ever experience. Yet in the midst of his suffering—for which Joseph was in no way responsible—God helped him.

Notice also that God did not immediately release Joseph from his prison. Yet, during that long night, God “showed him kindness.” Often in our prisons, we feel angry with God because years pass. Our spirits droop when he does not release us and we have no hope of getting out any time soon.

God has his reasons for keeping us imprisoned, reasons we may never understand this side of heaven.

Joseph trusted God and made the best of his circumstances. If he had struck out with anger to those around him, if he had become embittered, if he had sulked in the corner of his cell, he never would have had the opportunity to become second only to Pharaoh, to become one of the great men of the Bible, to save his people.

And to become an example many of us need to follow.

From these verses, I learned:

1. We may be suffering through no fault of our own.

2. God may allow us to spend many years within our “prison” walls.

3. God will grant us unmerited favor in the eyes of others.

4. God’s steadfast love never ceases, even when we’re imprisoned and feel forsaken.

5. We must work on our attitudes while imprisoned and not become bitter, resentful, or unkind.

6. God has a reason to keep us in our prisons. Perhaps, like Joseph, it’s to prepare us to do great things.

Imprisoned? Let go and let God --a clichéd saying, but one that is applicable.

Great things await if we simply trust God!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday’s Ramblings

“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Matthew 25:24-27

The word translated “interest” originally meant offspring. If nothing else, should we not produce offspring to give back to God?

We took the kids to eat pizza at the mall last night. Trace is two. He wanted to do lots of things.

He wanted to:

1. Push the button to close the van door. Yes, I allowed that.

2. Fix his own salad. No, I nixed that.

3. Sit in a certain chair. Yes, I allowed that.

4. Run around the restaurant. No, I nixed that.

5. Walk around the mall. Yes, I allowed that.

6. Play the pick-up-a-stuffed animal machine. Yes, I allowed that.

7. Wash his own hands by turning on the water, getting the soap, and, afterwards, getting his own paper towel. Yes, I allowed that.

8. Walk across the parking lot without holding my hand. No, I nixed that.

Trace wants to do everything for himself. And that’s a good thing. He likes to peel his own banana, open the wrapper to the cheese stick, get his own drink, etc.

I allow him to do as many of these things himself as possible.

To maintain my sanity, I made a rule when my oldest child was a toddler. This is it: Anything the child wants to do, let him do it as long as it is not seriously harmful to himself or others. Harmful acts include being rude, disrespectful, or destructive of property.

I read a blog post today that reinforces that which I already believe. The link is here: I don't want to raise a good child.

I hope you get a chance to read it. Our children do not have to be squished into a mold. Let’s allow our children to be who God made him/her to be.

That doesn’t mean to allow your child to run wild, be disrespectful, or infringe on others’ rights. However, it does mean to allow your child the freedom to explore and engage in activities that you, as the parent or grandparent, may not like.

My grandson wanted to:

1. . . . close the van door. I had to wait for him and watch him close it. It would have been faster to do it myself.

2. . . . sit in a certain chair. We had to move some chairs around and that was a little inconvenient to us.

3. . . . play on the machine. I knew he wouldn’t win, and it would be a waste of money and time. I was tired and wanted to get home. Yet, I put my own needs aside to allow him to play.

4. . . . wash his own hands. I had to pick him up for him to reach the faucet, soap dispenser, and towel dispenser. It would have been easier to wet a towel and wipe his hands.

From a selfish point of view, I would not have allowed him to do any of these things. It would have been easier and faster for me to do them myself.

Parenthood and grandparenthood is not about the fast, easy way. It will often be messy, tiring, and time consuming. Yet, when our children or grandchildren grow into godly adults, it will all be worth it.

Our “offspring” can be released to God.

Let’s refuse to bury the talent!