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Many of us have struggled with the lingering effects of a winter cold. According to a recent post on WebMD, over the course of a year, people in the United States will suffer 1 billion colds. We all know the signs – for me, it usually comes first with a scratchy throat, followed by nasal congestion, then full-blown upper respiratory distress complete with body aches and possibly even a fever.
While most of us do anything that we can to avoid coming down with the winter cold by maintaining good hand-washing procedures, eating healthy and keeping up on immunizations, we still somehow manage to end up with a cold. We are told by our physicians to expect it to last 7-10 days, and that there really isn’t anything that they can do for us to lessen the cold (or the effects of it); most of us just suffer through.
This winter, as I endure my annual winter cold, I find myself grounded from my normally active lifestyle and spending much more time at home. And with time on my hands, I find that I have more time to spend on personal reflection, prayer, and devotion. After the usual prayers asking for healing, and to help lessen the symptoms, my thoughts turn to wondering how people in the Bible dealt with suffering. I personally cannot recall any individuals in the Bible who were documented with having the common cold, but we do know that there are many cases of individuals who were sick and in need of healing.
Wondering if we just give lip service to the idea that God can heal us or that we should only call out to God for healing when we are experiencing catastrophic situations, I went to the scripture to see what comfort and knowledge would be there for me. In Jeremiah 17:4, I found this scripture “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” And in Exodus 23:25, I find this promise, “Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you…”. One of my favorite verses also gives me comfort, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” which is found in Philippians 4:19.
So, while my cold lingers to day 10 and beyond, I do feel that my body is slowly getting better. Each day I see progress, whether it’s that my cough is less intense, my brain is less foggy, or my energy levels are increasing. But the bigger question is this, am I putting my full faith and trust in God that He will heal me in His timing and trusting that His timing is perfect? So many of us want to have everything on our timeline (me included), and try to say to God – “my cold has lasted 10 days, the doctor said that it should be done in 10 days, and I’m still feeling cruddy – so what’s going on?”
Let’s give this a thought – Proverbs 3:5,6 says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” The key word of this verse is TRUST. As I wade through my sea of congestion with numerous Kleenex tissues and cough drops, I WILL trust in the Lord that He has a plan for everything in my life, even this cold.
Kandi Johnson has always enjoyed sharing the written word with others - through her contributions to The Writer's Group column at The Spectrum, St. George,Utah; 41 North , (Special Supplement to The Coeurd'Alene Press), Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and her blog, The Vibrant Author.
Kandi embraces holistic living, empowered through a close walk with God, and strives to share this with others through her books, and one-on-one coaching through Brio Health Coaching.
When not working on new writing projects, she enjoys her family, participating in community events, playing golf, and other outdoor pursuits in the northern Idaho town where she currently resides.
See Kandi's books at https://amzn.to/2RPvBDA
I was about ten years old and my brother, Al, had friend over. We had played football for about an hour, but the sun was setting. We now sat in a circle and talked.
Suddenly, I had an idea. I asked the question, “Why do dogs have tails?”
At first, the boys looked at me like I lost my mind. Ideas were, however, forming in my head.
I began to talk of a time when dogs didn’t have tails. One puppy felt incomplete and began a journey to see the wizard to ask him for a tail.
When the cats heard about his plan, they sent their assassins to prevent his success. Lions, tigers, and cougars first started individual attacks, but eventually combined forces to conduct an all-out assault on the puppy and his friends.
I don’t remember many details about the story, but I remember I had goose-bumps as I told it. I also had the boy’s attention throughout. It occurred to me after I finished the story, when the wizard awarded all dogs tails, that I was a writer.
Every year in school in my elementary years, my teachers would learn to expect the worse from me: lack of cooperation, minimal homework, disrespect, and a smart mouth. It was ironic to them that their last memory of me that year was very positive.
At the first of the year, each teacher would emphasize how important it was to keep covers on your books to prevent wear and tear, not mark in your books, and (at one time my favorite) draw horns on the pictures of people the books used for illustrations. The always said, “If your book is in bad shape, you WILL have to pay for it.
That last day, the teachers would call us to their desks, on at a time, typically in alphabetical order, and have us turn in our text book. We would hear her say things like, “That’s acceptable.” “Good job, Lisa. As good as new.” “That will not do for another year, John. You will need to pay for this book before you get your report card.”
Since I was a “W”, I was always close to last. The teacher would call my name, glare at me with heavy eyebrows, and prepare to give me the horrible news that I would be working this summer to pay for a book I ruined.
She would inspect the book with raised eyebrows, not believing her eyes. She would flip through the book twice quickly, and usually a third time very slowly. Finally, she would lay the book on her desk, grit her teeth and almost spit, “Good job, Tim.”
Not once did any of them ever think to say, “It’s like this book was never opened.”
Today I looked again at one of the emails that sends a daily verse. I enjoy looking at those and considering what God wants me to know from them. Today, one grabbed my attention right away.
“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3.
Paul had just mentioned the opposition he faced and requested prayer from evil men. He states, “not all men have faith.” He then speaks to the Thessalonians who are believers that they can rest in the faithfulness of the Lord. Significant in the next sentence is the word, “will”. Not the word, “can”, or “is able.” Based upon the Lord’s faithfulness, He will establish you and protect you.
I first thought of the bad religions and theology that have to develop a “work around” for this verse. OK, that’s was a good place to start because it ignited my praise to God for the truths here. However, God wasn’t satisfied with that and the “back patting” I was enjoying. Truly, those who don’t trust God to keep what He redeems is not my problem. It’s his.
I then thought about the prayer requests that I ask for and share that express doubt in these truths. “Will the Lord be faithful this time?” “Will He really protect me from the evil one and establish me from the truth if I don’t qualify with enough prayer, Bible time, and physical ministry? What if I don’t have enough people praying?”
I understand that “effectual, fervent prayer of those made righteous accomplishes much,” and pleases God. But it doesn’t earn brownie points that must be cashed in to get all my “Christian benefits.” Those things were paid for by Jesus Christ.
As a result of my lack of faith, I worry far more than is necessary, and that worry does burn energy that is best spent elsewhere. Perhaps I should learn to not pray for what Christ has already purchased and guaranteed for me and pray for other believers and their realization of the assurance we have in Christ. I could pray more for the lost and/or fruitless who are struggling in life. And, I could pray for those whose every day is a question of survival or torture for professing faith that I am free with express in my situation.
Lord, help me live in my confidence in You, and spend my prayer time not expressing faithlessness, but standing in the gap for those who need it.
Writing a grammatically incorrect teaser could hurt your book.
“Dr. Paschal Keebler a surgeon on a humanitarian mission accidently swallows a minute nuclear bomb and if he doesn’t perform surgery on himself he may destroy the whole village. Will his arthritis allow him to succeed or is this the end of an endangered tribe.” Yuck!
It’s a delusion that people only want to read from writers who are smarter than they are. I’m somewhat sure that most readers are satisfied with reading from someone who is equal in intelligence, and maybe more creative in different areas. Seldom will you find the reader who wants to dumb down to enjoy a novel.
This occurred to me as I was shopping for another hidden great read. It is disturbing that many of the blurbs, teases, and ads are poorly written with glaring grammatical errors.
Readers reject books quickly if reading is irritating because of a lack of understanding of the language. I’m not speaking about the pesky typos and spelling errors than sneak by editors and get published. However, if your blurb is a violation that would make the substitute English teacher gasp, fix it.
Writing should be a growing art for the writer. It’s very easy in our world to polish a manuscript without hiring the literature department from Harvard Universities. Here are a few tips that could help you cross the bridge to another level of literary recognition in an ever-growing competitive market:
Most of you will use Microsoft Word to write your next masterpiece. Or if you are as cheap as I am, you will opt to some OpenOffice application. Those squiggly colored lines under those words are not Christmas decorations.
There are times when a software grammar and spelling feature will disagree with the writer. I had a character who answered to “Sobaka”, and my software tried to correct it to something every time. However, most of the time, you need to investigate why the software doesn’t like it. You may learn something or be reminded of a grammar rule you had forgotten.
2. Look at the grammar and writing programs.
After looking through many, like Autocrit, After-the-Deadline, and PaperRater, I settled on Grammarly for my go-to virtual editor. There are many from which to choose, and many of them have a “free”, but limited version. This allows you to try several different ones and determine which one you are going to “buy.” They are a lot cheaper than hiring Dr. Fuddyduddy.
These are the territory of “pet peeves.” “They’re” is different from “their,” which is different from “there.” I know this, but when I am under the spell of inspiration, it doesn’t always translate into my fingers. You will hear many writers complain about this.
Spend due attention to your blurb, or many will not care about how well written your book is.
Can one be spiritual and not believe in God?
When my sweet wife flipped through the TV channels to find the one we watch for the evening news, a television show was ending. It represented that the universe was God and we would benefit from getting in tune, or aligned, with it.
Laura said, “You can’t say that God created the earth but you can say that the universe communicates with us in a spiritual way. Political correctness has gone crazy.”
That got me to thinking, which is a risky proposition at best.
Do atheists recognize the spiritual? Can they recognize that life is made of the seen (physical) and the unseen (spiritual)? Is life nothing more than chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics?
What is life? What is physically, or chemically, different in a frog that is alive from one that is dead if we analyzed every chemical reaction? What leaves a frog at the time of death, from a scientific view. Can life be created in a lab?
A friend of mine and I were speaking honestly about the discoveries and what has been invented during our lifetimes. It’s amazing. What will the next generations see in their lifetimes? Will the rate of discovery of new knowledge plateau, or at least slow down? Assuming the earth will withstand another 20 years of abuse, what will the world, and living on the earth, look like?
As part of the conversation, I brought up teleporting. Another friend had told me that scientists have successfully teleported an orange from one place to another. In other words, they converted the matter to energy, transmitted over a network, and reassembled it properly, but I have found no evidence of this in my internet searches.
If matter can be teleported, maybe sometime in the future, molecules would be transformed into energy (electricity) and returned back to being matter at the receiving end exactly in the position and condition it had been before.
But life consists of the seen and the unseen. In other words, until science defines life, they cannot advance teleportation. If they put me into a teleporter in Chama and zapped me to New York some day, Star Trek style, they may be able to assemble the molecules back into their original position, but not their original condition. There is no guarantee that the body they retrieve from the teleporter in New York would be alive.
How would the scientists digitally, or in analogue, convert “life” into something they could transmit? Until science understand, defines, and can create life into material terms, teleporting is out. I guess funeral homes would benefit from it. You may someday be able to transport the physical, but not the spiritual, like life itself.
An honest atheist will admit that life consists of the seen and unseen, and the unseen is a mystery. We call that mystery “spiritual”. If there is a spiritual reality (if the spiritual exists), there has to be a god (or God). A massive explosion in the universe past could not assemble something that is seen and unseen, a living creature, no more than blowing up the Library of Congress would create the 2018 Encyclopedia, bound in volumes.
If there is a God, He has to be the ultimate mathematician, engineer, biologist, geologist, and any other form of scientist you can imagine. He had to have created the seen and the unseen.
To me (and you will need to come to your own conclusion), it seems that if there is a God, He would want to communicate with us and would have the power and creativity to do so. He would relay to us some sort of purpose for this experiment we call “life on earth”.
If God communicated with us, it would have to be a time-tested, perfect message that we could understand and a path we could somehow find.
And, if we have ever opposed God’s plan, there would undoubtedly be retribution. If any human was able to survive that retribution, that survival would have to be part of God’s plan. He would have to grant to us forgiveness for opposing the one with all the power. He would have to offer forgiveness by grace, something we could never deserve.
Hey, doesn’t that sound very much like the message of the Bible?
Please feel free to comment.
It's truly interesting the spiritual insights hidden in the scriptures. It's exciting to, through the help of the Holy Spirit, dig them up.
Lamentations 3:40-41 say, "Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens." Particularly note the last part; “Let us lift up our hearts with our hands unto God.”
In this Old Testament book, the prophet of God, Jeremiah, is lamenting the fall of the city, Israel, that the Jewish people believe God would not allow to fall. But God had warned the prophets who were listening to Him that the sins of the people and the nation could not go without correction, and that correction would be very painful.
In the verses mentioned we notice that Jeremiah is talking about personal repentance. He called for continual examination of the life as necessary for repentance. The thought is that this search for sin in our lives must be a deep searching.
Then he draws out the path to complete repentance, as opposed to simple sorrow for the loss of status quo due to the consequences of sin. After sin has been discovered in the life and repented, we lift up our hearts. How do we do this? WITH our hands. What is this talking about?
Despite the words of many teachers today, he is not talking about praying with our hands lifted. Many can do, and often do, this without any self-examination and repentance of sin.
Obviously, by this point in repentance, the mind has made a decision to repent; to confess and turn from the sin revealed. However, the process is not completed. The heart has to be lifted up to God in Heaven.
Salvation and forgiveness is not a result of works. Don’t read that into this. However, neither do salvation and forgiveness occur without a change in the works of our hands. A changed heart does not continue to do the things with the hands that God hates (1 John 5:18).
The peace of God comes from a forgiven and changed heart (Philippians 4:17). A change heart is God’s doing and gift to those who are saved (Philippians 2:17). A changed and forgiven heart, given by God, changes what our hands find to do (Ecclesiastes 9:10). When God uses our hands, it further lifts our hearts to God in heaven.
Audible has the finished version of the new Audio book and is going through their process of publishing it. We eagerly await its release and will let you know immediately. I've listened to it, of course, and Chris did a fabulous job. Nearly time to pop the tops off bottles of Coke and celebrate!
I was thrilled when Chris Pierce agreed to record my first Ted Kline Novel, "Death Water". Unfamiliar with the process, I set unreasonable time frames. He quickly pointed out that doing quality work took longer than I had anticipated. Of course, I gave him all the time he needed to complete his work.
He finished his original audio recordings and sent them to me for approval. Wouldn't you know they hit my calendar during my busiest period of the summer? So the ball is in my court.
I promise you, I have heard enough of the recording to guarantee that the audio book of Death Water is very much worth the wait. Watch for it. I will announce it as soon as we finish polishing it up.
Tim and Chris
I have been guilty of rookie mistakes. Yes, old rookies make the same mistakes as young ones. What happened to the wisdom gained by years? Good question. I'm still looking for the answer.
Mistake #1: Publish the book to quickly. The temptation is to rush a new book to market because there is nothing like seeing the first book in a new series for sale. The biggest sign of rushing a book to market is having to do too many edits in a published book. If books have sold and in the customers' hands, somebody is holding and reading a hand full of mistakes. Guilty as charged.
Anyone who purchased my book and wants the latest version, please let me know. I will take care of my readers.
Mistake #2: Unfamiliar with the publishing process. Amazon has revolutionized the publishing business. However, if you aren't familiar with the process and details, it can be confusing, especially in the print version. You are given options for size, paper used, finish of the cover and a few more details that sound minor.
But they are not minor. For instance, in my first release, I picked 6"x9", white paper and matte finish. The book had to be sold for $35. For my second book, I picked 5"x8", canary, and matte finish. The book could be sold for $8.99. I try to go back and change the first one, but once you get an ISBN number, according to Amazon, the format of the book is in concrete. Paper in concrete? Who does that?
Amazon's amazing customer service representative explained my options like this: "You can leave it the same, or you can do something so drastic, it's unreasonable. You would have to unpublish your book and do it under another title."
Unreasonable? It seems unreasonable to me for people to read my second book, or third, and desire to seek out my first one, expecting them to pay $35. So, I unpublished. I had to change name from "Water" to "Death Water" (a better title anyway), and I changed cover photo (I think a better one too). But it's the reader a writer works for, not the publisher.
So the moral to this story is, young writers, don't seek out an old writer for advise. Seek out an experienced one.