Snakebite to the Soul ~ and the anti-venom

God’s Word has an answer for every problem you have…

The Apostle Paul knew about snakebite. First, the primitive tribal people of Malta thought he was a murderer and worthy of death by snakebite. Then when he shook the offending snake off and lived, they wanted to worship him. That’s the fickle nature of humanity. Paul had to explain to them that he was not a god, but that the God he served saved him from death by snakebite.

As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god. ~ Acts 28: 2-6, New Living Translation [NLT]

Today, although it is possible that believers could be bitten by a reptilian snake and that God could save their lives, it’s much more likely that they will become the victims of poisoning of their soul. The enemy (the deceiver, Satan) can do things to poison our soul, but it’s just as likely that we are the ones poisoning our own souls with strife, unforgiveness, bitterness, malice, etc.

 Is it possible we’re choked with bitterness, we’re continually caught up in anger, persistent resentfulness, or we’re planning revenge? The godly antidote for this is forgiveness. Forgiveness is not an emotional issue. It’s a spiritual decision. We decide to be obedient to the Word of God and we forgive. Yes, we even forgive our enemies! We commit ourselves to the Lord and His Word no matter how we feel. We feed on Scripture as our prescribed medicine. We read and say the corresponding Scriptures aloud. Such as…

25 And whenever you stand praying, if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults. ~ The Passion Translation [TPT]

21 Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven! ~ New Living Translation [NLT]

It’s so interesting that the decision to forgive and the act of forgiveness is releasing to the forgiver. We are releasing the offending party from our consciousness. They have been taking up far too much space. We may have to do this act of releasing (i.e. forgiving) seventy times seven times. First, we have to realize that as long as we are consumed (bound) with hatred, anger, resentment, thoughts of revenge…the offending party is dominating our mind, will, and emotions…which spiritually in the Bible is our soul. We need to get free of the offending party. We need to perform an act of our will and forgive them. However, God didn’t make us stupid. We don’t have let them into our lives again. If we can’t avoid them because they are a member of our extended family, or we work with them…we don’t have to trust them, we can beware of them (be aware of their actions and schemes, having spiritual discernment with prayer. Pray for wisdom and protection). And avoid them as much as possible.

Are we murmurers and complainers? I have to confess that I had whining down to an art form. I’m sure my friends got tired of listening to me and thought, there she goes again. Over time, God dealt with me about this. I began to see that thankfulness (a posture and attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude) was the antidote to murmuring and complaining. If you come from a dysfunctional family like I do, you’ll understand how whining over the doling out of love and the short supply of positive reinforcement, continual disappointment, disillusionment, the embarrassment and shame due to ruined situations we thought should’ve been good, and much more has led to our whining. Through intimacy with God, and also with some good and sound teaching on the dangers of murmuring and the benefit of thanksgiving, I have largely walked out of habitual whining. First of all, whining, murmuring, and complaining are useless. They do no good and put other people off. That’s not a good return, not profitable. The Lord began to lead me back (and this was painful and still can be painful) to look at the people and early situations that disappointed, embarrassed, and shamed me. These were the ‘seeds’ of a habitual attitude on my part of whining and complaining. He showed me how (not just that) many of the people early in my life who hurt me were themselves broken people I should have compassion for. He began to show me little gems of joy, happiness, laughter in my early life that I could savor as memories..and give thanks for. Yes, give thanks. Many of the people in my early life were not saved. Even if they were, they didn’t have teaching on how to live a joyous and prosperous life. They were average Americans, from immigrant roots, trying to make a life and often blundering along the way. I now choose to remember the good while not denying the broken. When a painful, shaming memory comes to mind, I can chose to ‘quickly’ replace it with one of those nuggets of early happiness, fun, peace. When the enemy says, “Your family didn’t have it together much, did they?” I can now ‘quickly’ push him aside with memories of my grandmother’s good cooking and her love of feeding people. I can recall my dad, the high school teacher, reading bedtime stories to me and my brother. I can recall my mom baking her ‘Alaska Logs’ Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve. I can’t tell you how much this has freed me and made my present life a happier place. I’m not longer enshrining the pain.

Do we have deep sadness and are we in a state of mourning? Did we lose a spouse, a child, a parent, sibling, or friend far too young. As a widow, I know what sadness and mourning are. I’ve also lost two dear friends far too young. And, I’m also old enough to have lost both of my parents. Did you lose a house, a job, a business? As a maturing Christian, I know mourning is a process we have to go through to be healthy. Still, there is a time we must leave that deep state of mourning behind and get on with life. While, there is no cure for mourning, the very real feelings will surface from time to time,  they should not kill our joy. Our joy comes from the Lord.

Here are two Scriptures from the Word of the Lord to help us when we seem lost in grieving…

This one from Proverbs is one of my Scriptures. I claim it. It’s good to laugh, to have some fun, some lightness of spirit, even during mourning…maybe especially during mourning.

22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22, New King James Version [NJKV]

This one from Isaiah is so deep on so many levels, it’s good to study and meditate on when in the grip of mourning that seems consuming.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2to proclaim the year of the Lord‘s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. ~ Isaiah 61: 1-4, English Standard Version [ESV]

So many times in her life, Detective Katerina “Kat” Andruko experienced sorrow, abandonment, and betrayal. She’s just starting to trust the city’s handsome forensic profiler, but she can’t shake that he could be a murder suspect.  COURTING DANGER

Desire of the Heart (Yellowstone Series, Book 1) by Anne Perreault ~ a review

Desire of the Heart

Women’s Christian Fiction, Romance…

Cady Jackson and her cousin Ashley are on vacation in Yellowstone National Park. Cady and Ashley grew up in a strict Christian family that owns a farm in upstate New York. All Cady wants is to enjoy a week in the gorgeous national park when she encounters a grisly bear, twists her ankle, and has to be carried to safety by handsome park ranger Grant McClintoch. He immediately becomes annoyed because this is about to ruin his well planned morning schedule. She knows she’s in the wrong (shouldn’t be alone on a trail) but something about him irritates her. Yet, they’re both attracted to each other.

Cady is determined to follow the rules of her ultra-strict Christian family, yet she’s tempted by this handsome stranger. Grant is a Christian man with a past…a sad past that almost ruined his life. He’s burdened by a tragic loss. He has to accept that he isn’t responsible for working things out for himself and others, God is.  She has to grow-up a little and begin to see who she is as an individual in the Lord.

The author has a facility for humor. One of the most charming aspects of this novel is Cady thinking of him and calling Grant: Ranger McGrumpy, Ranger McMuscle, Ranger McKnowitall, and so forth. This really tickled my funny bone.

This is a clean and sweet romance dealing with the Christian theological issues of waiting until marriage for intimacy, as well as honoring parents while finding freedom in the Lord.  A sweet romance in a rugged setting. This is an appropriate read for ages 14 to 114.

ribbon-green

Harmful Intent 400 P Action packed detective story.  A back stabbing BFF, a drug lord, Brooklyn gal PI in rugged west Texas trying to clear her name. Funny, gritty, with class. HARMFUL INTENT #99c #cleanread #inspy #ChristFic https://amzn.to/2C8jSeg

Living Small is beautiful ~ in its own way

A Mantell

Pondering: small as a lifestyle…

In my widowhood, after I had moved to northeast coastal Florida with Sophie the Wonder Dog and my mischievous cats, I rented a small, two-bedroom house while I searched for a permanent place.

A Green Tree Xmas 12.20

Then I found a two bedroom condo I’m extremely fond of where I’m truly blessed and happy. It’s small and cozy. My living room has a nonworking fireplace. When I put up my two Christmas trees, it was remarked that it looked like a doll house. I enjoy my doll house. My faux green tree has all the traditional ornaments I brought down with me from Brooklyn (NYC).  That’s my 14 year-old cat Scooter under the tree. Scooter had a stroke right before Christmas and walks with his hind quarters swaying, but he’s doing fine, living his life.

Bookcase Wht Tree Xmas FL 12.20

It’s my firm belief that every Florida home must have either a white, pink, or blue Christmas tree. That’s simply part of Florida culture, in my opinion and it’s so fun. I chose a small white tree, and it has all of my pet and animal ornaments on it.

Yes, I ‘went small’ after my husband passed, and I came to Florida. I moved my furniture south by truck because I knew my budget would not allow for me to buy all new furniture.

She watches over the activities of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. ~ Proverbs 31:27, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

wodd tiny house

Since I relocating to Florida, I’ve become fascinated with videos, pictures, and stories about people who have chosen to leave their apartments and/or big houses behind and move into tiny houses. They’re kind of a new pioneer breed, and they are interesting. I enjoy looking at their tiny homes. This eclectic wooden planked tiny house is so cheerful and fitting to its forest environment. Instead of a foundation, it’s on wheels. So cute.

A tiny house inter

I’m not talking about a tiny vacation home, but of people who have chosen to live their lives full-time in a tiny house. It’s a new way of thinking as well as living. I imagine, they would first have to change their mind-set from living large to living small. That was something I did quickly. Where do I want to live? Florida. How do I want to live? In a space that requires a lot less maintenance than my house in Brooklyn. That had a lot to do with the fact that I’m a senior citizen. This was the main reason I chose to live in a condo, where the ‘association’ maintains the outside of the buildings and does the landscaping. In terms of a tiny house, it would also take a lot less energy and effort to maintain than a regular sized house. ~ Here is the interior of a rustic yet modern tiny house.

 

A blue tiny house

 

I’m not advocating for tiny house living, not even for small or scaled down living. Each person has their own needs. Each season of life has its own needs. And I’m not even sure why tiny houses fascinate me, but they do.

ribbon blue

Harmful Intent 400 P Private Detective Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels escapes Brooklyn (NYC) and her cheating husband. She finds herself in a small town in Texas suspected of murder where she is living in a small room above a small diner. HARMFUL INTENT.

wodd tiny house

 

What Is The Kingdom of Heaven? ~ where is it?

A father and baby

After this manner therefore pray ye

I most often use the New American Standard Bible [NASB], thinking it’s the closest word-for-word translation of the Bible in English. Young’s Literal Translation [YLT] would be another one. However, there are some verses and entire sections of the Bible where I gravitate toward the King James Version [KJV] for its exquisite beauty. What we call “The Lord’s Prayer” is one of those sections, and in it Jesus tells us about the kingdom of God. This is where Jesus teaches us how to pray. And if Jesus said it, I know I can absolutely ‘take that check to the bank’. It’s good.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. ~ Matthew 6:9-13, King James Version [KJV]

I placed the above text in red because the words of Jesus are often shown in red to honor them and also to point them out. So what is He telling us about the Kingdom of Heaven? He says, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” To me, to my mind and heart this is saying the kingdom of God is something that comes to earth and can exist on earth. And God’s will (the Father’s will) can be done on the earth as it is in heaven. That the kingdom of God is possible and available to us.

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 14:17, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

This passage in Romans speaks to me saying the kingdom of God is here on earth in the Holy Spirit, and further than that in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are made righteous before the Father. That is how God sees us, washed in the blood of His Son and as righteousness. With all my being, I think that believers who have truly made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior do NOT wish to sin, do not seek to sin, but strive to do God’s will and to be in God’s will. And that is our job…to fully submit to the Father’s will. Fully submitted to the Holy Spirit is where we will find the kingdom of God on earth.

Brother Kenneth Copeland points to John 5:30 to show us the “kingdom process” here on the earth.

Don’t like to snort-giggle out loud. Then DON’T read this book. HARMFUL INTENT! Detective story with a pulse racing plot. Murder, mayhem, drugs. Sometimes hilariously funny. As addictive as Stephanie Plumb but a #cleanrread. #humor #inspy 

The Perils Of Cheryl by Carol McClain ~ new release

a-the-perils-of-cheryl

Only a man can save her—any man so long as he’s hot

If you’ve been around Christian writing circles at all, at one time or another you’ve run in to my friend Carol McClain. I’m absolutely pleased to have her on the blog to promote new new release.

Sassy, desperate, and ditched by her husband, Cheryl Chandler realizes only one thing will redeem her from her ex-husband’s betrayal. A man. Finding love in rural New York proves a daunting challenge. With a shallow gene pool and a crazy family, she wants someone willing to accept her quirky teens whose eccentricities range from New Age ideologies, to OCD, to religious fanaticism, and a toddler—her husband’s parting gift. What man would love her and accept them? (Or could she hide the kids?) Her children, and mother, have the solution. Online dating.

Here she meets two men. Religious fanatic Tarrant charms her, but he’s so pious, he actually likes to go to church and loves to study his Bible. Mysterious Carleton is everything her desperation desires, witty, knowledgeable, and handsome. How does a woman choose among a crazy family or a need for unadulterated love or the draw of faith? She certainly can’t decide without a hefty dose of humor.

Author Question:  What do you as the author want the reader to take away from this novel?

Carol’s Answer:  Cheryl believes only a man can save her, any man so long as he’s hot. Little did she know that the one she needs isn’t the one she expects. Only one person can straighten out the mess of our lives (and Cheryl’s is an LOL mess). Any Christian knows the answer.

A Carol McClain

Author Bio:

McClain is the award-winning author of four novels. The New York Yankee on Stinking Creek is the first-place winner of The Dragonfly Book Award for best novel.

McClain writes novels about the redemption of the unredeemable. Even her most serious works are laced with humor. She is a consummate encourager, and no matter what your faith might look like, you will find compassion, humor and wisdom in her complexly layered, but ultimately readable work.

She is a past president of ACFW Knoxville and its current treasurer/secretary. She facilitates Postmark Writers, an offshoot of the LaFollette Art Group. She teaches online courses and is a clinical supervisor for WGU.

In addition to the above, she’s served on the Board of Connections to Recovery, an organization dedicated to keeping addicts sober. She’s mentored recovering addicts, and at one time, had been a foster mother–the complexity and difficulty of that calling proved she was better off writing about it than performing it.

(Is there nothing she can’t do?)

Aside from writing, she’s a skilled stained-glass artist, and a budding potter.

Purchase THE PERILS OF CHERYL on Amazon.

ribbon blue

CD Cover Need an exciting read for the new year? COURTING DANGER ~ Young women are being murdered in this Florida #beach town. The female detective feels she knows the murderer, can’t place him, and it’s tearing at her.