Now is the perfect time to get a little selfish and make sure you are giving yourself the TLC you need! We are here to boost your self-esteem, get you through rough times, and just be a nice reminder that you ROCK! Chances are you don’t hear it enough, so we want to fill that void. But, this is one blog you won’t get sick of…
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Concerned about weight gain, I started trying to exercise more. Walking became a favorite way to exercise. Yet, I wasn’t losing the pounds. So why was I still overweight? I was disappointed that exercise alone had not solved my problem.
Then during my quiet time, I read Hebrews 12:1 (KJV).
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
This confirmed my need to lose weight! Even the Bible said so! What contributes to weight gain? Eating too many calories! I needed a healthier diet. What a difference that made on my scale! With diligence, I started watching my weight go down.
But wait, Hebrews 12:1 isn’t about dieting. It’s about a life change.
When I was in high school, one of my acquaintances came to school high on drugs. She could barely make it up the stairs to the gym class. That’s when she asked for help from me and my best friend. As we were struggling to get her up the stairs she begged us not to do drugs ever. She told us how her drug use was ruining her life. That’s why she was so intent on making it to class. One more miss, and she would have been in trouble, possibly suspended.
I remembered hearing the rumors of her last drug overdose. She almost died. She told us while we struggled up the stairs that we were two of the nicest girls in school. She made us both promise not to ever get started on drug use. She didn’t want us to make her mistake. Of course we promised. That weight of drug addiction she carried around was a heavy burden. The damage to her body and her reputation could be repaired, but only if she could stay off drugs.
There are other weights that rob us of our joy and keep us from becoming who God created us to be. Unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking rob us of our money and health. Habits such as lying and cheating rob us of our credibility. There are personal habits that further demonstrate irresponsibility like being chronically late, spending all our money, or never keeping a promise.
Sin so easily captivates us because it seems harmless, but in the end it’s a destroyer. In the Bible, weight is something that keeps us from doing what is righteous in God’s eyes. It holds us down; trapped, and miserable.
Hebrews 12:1 is encouraging to me because it is a reminder that weight is often something we carry around and don’t necessarily need. On our own, we can’t get rid of the weights that are ruining our lives. We need God’s help.
God changes lives when our trust is placed in Him and in His Word. Each of us can know for sure we will have a place with Him in Heaven if we will call upon His name and ask Him to save us. We can know for sure our sin is forgiven if we will confess it and turn away from it.
We need to be changed! Let’s lose the weights that hold us back from being the people we were created to be!
For more information about getting right with God, check out this presentation at: http://evangelismexplosion.org/resources/steps-to-life/
Written by: Linda Hull
Written by Jill Sheets
Recently, I had the honor of interviewing an amazing pastor, author, and overall wonderful woman, Tabitha Caplinger. She is the author of the TCO3 trilogy, which I cannot wait to read. Read on and hear her advice if you have walked away from God, her books, and what #LiveChosen means.
R: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
T: I don’t want to just ramble out my standard bio, so…I’m a wife, mom, youth pastor, and author. I’m also a confessed TV addict. I spend most days in Tabitha Caplingermy pajamas, writing and drinking coffee. Also, I like to think I’m pretty awesome (I tend to think everyone is pretty awesome in their own way).
R: How did you decide to get into student ministry? What is the best thing about it?
T: My dad was a pastor. I’d like to say that I had this super inspiring calling experience, but in reality, I didn’t want to have anything to do with vocational ministry, so I pushed the idea of it out of my mind and ran away to a secular college for two semesters. God, being patient and gracious, kept speaking to my heart and showing me His purposes for my life. Eventually, I realized nothing outside of His will was going to make me happy and fulfilled, so I relented. The cool thing now is looking back and seeing how God redeemed those two semesters and is currently using them in my ministry (I was a creative writing major, though I had never once thought of being a writer prior to college. Now I’m a pastor and an author!).
R: You are also an ordained minister. How did that come about?
T: The moment I really yielded my will to God’s and began to walk out the call to student ministry, I knew I wanted to be credentialed as a minister–not for the title, but the training. I am ordained with the Assemblies of God. The classes involved in getting ordained are challenging, but they teach you so much about ministry and about God’s Word. I am also so thankful to be part of a fellowship that values women as equal so that I could become ordained. It was a super cool experience. My husband and I were ordained at the same time and my father surprised us by getting to be the minister who prayed over us at the service.
R: It is not easy being a teen. What advice would you give a teenager who has turned away from God and Jesus?
T: I would say to give Him another chance. I’ve been doing student ministry for a lot of years and those that started out with Jesus and turned away either went through something difficult and grew angry at God, or they never really had a personal relationship with Him to begin with (I’m not trying to cast everyone in general categories because our struggles and situations are all unique, but I think a lot boils down to these two arenas.). But while we may walk away from God, He never walks away from us. He is right there, waiting for us to just see Him, to reach out a hand for him. So give Him another chance, a real effort, ask Him to reveal Himself, to speak to you. I believe with all my heart that He will. And don’t confuse people with Jesus. Often we limit God by only seeing him in the light of other Christians. Look for Him, the real Him.
R: Tell us about your book The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline.
T: Basically, it’s some pretty cool and sassy girls who fight demons and are trying to save the world. There is also a stoic angel and pie.
R: How did you come up with the ideas for your books? What is your writing process?
T: This book was a dream. That might sound clichéd, but it’s true. I woke up with this idea. Actually, it started with a vision of The Chronicle and the story just went from there. As for the writing process, I am an outliner first. My initial outlines are pretty broad and basic, and then as I go they get more specific. I do like to be flexible, though. More than once, my characters have gone off-script, and that has led to some of my favorite scenes.
R: Where can people get your books?
T: Amazon is a good place to start. Bloodline is available to order in both paperback and digital in other places online. You can even walk into your local bookstore and they can probably order it for you. I am waiting for the day it makes the Barnes & Noble shelves.
R: What advice do you have for someone who wanted to become a writer?
T: Write. Sit down and do the work. Even if you don’t have the whole book laid out, it’s okay–just start somewhere. Also, do your homework on the publishing and marketing process. There is a lot I have learned along the way that I wish I had known earlier. Writing the book is just the beginning.
R: Tell us about the book The Chronicle of the Three: Armor Bearer. When will this book be released?
T: Armor Bearer is the continuation of the TCO3 trilogy. It picks up a little while after Bloodline ends and we get to dive a little deeper into Claire’s history and Zoe’s present. Some new characters appear, too, which is always fun. And you don’t have to wait for it because Armor Bearer was released February 7, 2017!
R: Do you plan on writing more books?
T: Yes! I am finishing the third book in the TCO3 trilogy right now but I have two other book ideas that are swirling around in my brain. I can only focus on one story at a time, so as soon as Book Three is sent off to the publisher to get the process started, I will being outlining the next book, which I am really looking forward to.
R: Tell our readers about your blog.
T: My blog is like my brain, a little all over the place. I write about what’s on my mind that month. Some posts are funny and some are serious. Some are about writing or my books. Some are about my kids. Some are about Jesus. It’s a good way to get to know me because it’s just me, my thoughts on the page.
R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?
T: This might be it! I get asked what my favorite type of pie is a lot…or how I like my tacos. Doing an interview in character as Claire from Bloodline, I (or she) was asked what shoes she was wearing.
R: What is #LiveChosen?
T: For over 15 years of youth ministry I have discipled young women. After writing Bloodline, I put together a devotional resource that is its companion, Daughters Arise. But I didn’t feel like it was enough. I want the stories I write to open conversations about our relationship with God. I was reading Girls with Swords by Lisa Bevere one day and praying about how I could take the ministry part of all this one step further and #LiveChosen flashed in my mind. My TCO3 characters get branded with the word “chosen” after slaying their first demon. While we won’t slay any physical demons, we do have purpose–we are chosen. #LiveChosen is my initiative to help young women learn to live for their purpose on purpose. I have some resources on my website for girls and leaders and I have several #LiveChosen videos on my YouTube channel. (If you don’t mind watching me talk about Jesus in my kitchen or bedroom.)
R: Are you on any social networking sites? Which ones and what are their address? Do you have an official website?
T: I am on all of them. Probably not really but a lot of them.
My website is tabithacaplinger.com and it links to all my social media.
R: Anything else you would like to add or say to your readers?
T: Just that you are chosen, powerful, loved, and never alone.
by Linda Hull
What brings a family together? Food! Joining loved ones around the table is a heartfelt blessing because families are God’s gift to mankind. A delicious meal is worthy of praise, for it is truly a gift of love to the family. I should know because my Grandmama was one of the best cooks in the world, notably for her buttermilk biscuits!
“Helping” Grandmama in the kitchen was a real joy back in those little girl days! Back then, just about everything was made from scratch. Cooking took more time and effort than it does in today’s world. It also provided many opportunities for talking about life.
It was a fact of life that Granddaddy had to have his biscuits every night at dinner. So making biscuits was the last menu item to make before everyone was called to dinner. That’s because Granddaddy liked his hot, with lots of butter and strawberry jam!
While the rest of the meal simmered on the old stove, Grandmama would gather her ingredients. The flour was kept loose in a pullout flour bin in what was probably an old Hoosier type cabinet, a novelty in today’s kitchen. Next she would measure out all her ingredients into the sifter. The flour, baking powder, and salt were shaken together as she turned the crank. Next she scooped out the shortening and placed it in the bowl with the dry ingredients.
Once the ingredients were assembled, she took a table fork and pressed that shortening into the flour mixture until it resembled coarse meal. Next came the buttermilk with a little cup for me to drink. Then she would scrape the mixture all up into a ball of dough, kneading it for just a little bit. Not too much or the biscuits would be tough.
After rubbing a bit of flour onto her rolling pin, she rolled that dough out to about a half inch thick. Each biscuit was cut from the dough with her biscuit cutter and placed on the cookie sheet to bake. My little bit of dough was added to the cookie sheet too, a testimony to her diligence in teaching me, and my desire to be just like Grandmama.
You know, you can learn a lot about God and His ways when you make biscuits. When I think about Grandmama’s hot biscuits, I think about Luke 6:38 (KJV): “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Biscuit making is a lot like life. You see, God knows we women are givers by nature and by design, but in order to be useful to Him, He has some work to do in our hearts. God sees us as that lump of dough that needs to be worked to make a good biscuit! He gives us everything we need to become the person He wants us to be, including the power of the Holy Spirit and His Word. He presses us down a bit to bring us into conformity with His Word. Then he shakes us up so we learn to depend on Him. He shapes us by our life experiences into women who are useful in furthering His Kingdom. He teaches us that what we give always comes back to us with more besides. When life brings discouragement, just remember God is making you into a good biscuit!
Following is my biscuit recipe roughly based on Grandmama’s old recipe. I’ve made adjustments like using self-rising flour and using the Crisco brand shortening.
2 cups sifted self-rising flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons Crisco shortening
2/3 to 3/4 cup buttermilk
Sift together dry ingredients. Cut shortening into flour mixture with fork until it resembles coarse meal. Add liquid gradually, stirring with the fork, until the mixture sticks together. Turn out on a lightly floured clean surface. Knead gently for about 1/2 minute until it feels elastic. Flour the rolling pin. Roll out dough to 1/2″ thick. Cut dough into biscuit shapes with a biscuit cutter or a floured beverage glass. Place on un-greased baking sheet in very hot oven (450 degrees F) for 12-15 minutes. Biscuits should be lightly browned. Serve immediately with butter and jam. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen depending on the size of the cutter.
“Baking Powder Biscuits.” American-International Encyclopedic Cookbook. Thomas Y. Crowell Company. Copyright 1972 by Homemakers Research Institute.