I learned about the Boston bombings yesterday while I was writing about my ancestors surviving British and Indian attacks near their Pennsylvania home in 1778. Just like the people who attended the Boston Marathon, my fifth-great-grandparents only wanted to enjoy life.
But sometimes things happen that we can’t foresee. God does not give us a crystal ball to view what lies ahead of us.
But what God does give us is the ability to seek His wisdom when we’re caught in the crossfire of evil.
God’s word tells us: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
My ancestor, Colonel John Kelly, was a godly man who lived by his faith and the Word of God. In July, 1778, when fellow settlers in a nearby fort were surrounded by 300 warring Indians and British, Colonel Kelly, a Revolutionary War officer, quickly assembled a small group of militia and drove off the aggressors.
I like to think that the scripture from Isaiah was going through the Colonel’s mind when he gave his orders to the brave – but vastly outnumbered – men he commanded. The Colonel and his men had every reason to fear: they were a group of no more than 30 facing 300 — but fear did not stop them from helping their friends and neighbors. Rather, God gave the ordinary men the courage and ability to fight evil and win.
The Colonel’s story is timeless: God’s help never wavers when we keep Him the focus of our lives. Yesterday, when bombs exploded in Boston, brave people ran toward the explosions to help the injured. Their own lives were at risk; no one knew if another bomb would explode in their midst.
Wherever we are, in whatever situation we face, we can confidently go forward – without fear – knowing that God is with us and will provide the courage and skill we need to persevere and win against evil.
But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31.
IN GOD WE TRUST – TO HIM BE THE GLORYRead More
So many people enjoyed yesterday’s article – “Morning Biscuits” – and several readers asked me to post Miss Megan’s southern biscuit recipe. If you read the article, you will know that you cannot substitute any of the ingredients!
Please write and let me know how Megan’s southern biscuit recipe turned out for you! I’d love to see a photograph of your biscuits!
MISS MEGAN’S SOUTHERN BISCUITS
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/4 cup butter, cold but not too hard
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 450°. Place 1 1/2 cups flour in a large mixing bowl. Add butter, and use your fingers to work it into the flour. Mixture will be crumbly and should look like small peas. Add buttermilk and cream, stirring just till flour is moistened.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Using floured hands, knead dough 4 to 5 times by folding dough over and pressing down with the heels of your hands; gradually add as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a smooth dough. Dough should not be sticky.
Pat dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter without twisting the cutter. Combine dough scraps, pat to 3/4-inch thickness, and cut into rounds. Place biscuits, with sides touching, in an ungreased baking pan. (Do not use non-stick pan!).
Bake at 450° for 16 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes 16 biscuits.
Spread with butter and your favorite jam.
Northeast Georgia girls like sorghum on their biscuits. Southern Georgia girls, like La-Tan Roland Murphy, prefer their mama’s homemade fig preserves.
I sure hope Mama Nadine Roland sends some jars of her homemade fig preserves to Richmond this year.
We are grateful to Miss Caroline of Rabun County, Georgia, for the tasty sorghum syrup, and for teaching Miss Megan and me – with great patience and much love - how to be southern.
Share what you have with Christian brothers who are in need. Give meals and a place to stay to those who need it. Romans 12:13 (NLV)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photograph by Cynthia Howerter © 2013
“Megan, I bought ingredients for homemade biscuits. How about making some for us this morning, please?”
“Sure, Mom. Help me set out the ingredients and utensils and I’ll make up a batch of biscuits that’ll set your mouth to waterin’.”
I’m assuming that my northern friends are now realizing that the Howerter girls have gone southern. No one makes biscuits like Megan, so when I knew she was coming home for the weekend, I hurriedly looked up her biscuit recipe. I didn’t take time to thoroughly read the list of ingredients; the only item I saw that I needed to purchase was buttermilk.
“Mom, is this flour self-rising?”
“Self-rising? No. Why?”
“Well, Mom, it takes self-rising flour to make good biscuits.”
I plopped a can of baking powder on the counter. “Just add some baking powder and that’ll take care of the rising.”
“Where’s the cream, Mom?” Megan held the refrigerator door open with a hip while she routed through the dairy shelf.
“Cream? The recipe calls for cream? Oh, gosh, I didn’t buy any. What about using some half-and-half? That should work.”
“I dunno, Mom. The recipe calls for cream.”
“We’ll have to improvise, honey.” Megan shot me a glance that questioned my culinary skills—make that my southern culinary skills. “The biscuits will turn out fine. You’ll see,” I assured my daughter.
In no time at all, Megan cut out circles of dough and placed them on a large baking sheet which went into the hot oven. I enjoyed a cup of hot coffee while I watched the biscuits through the oven window. Twenty-five minutes later, it was obvious to me that those biscuits really did need self-rising flour. Another ten minutes, and I realized that cream and half-and-half aren’t equal substitutes.
Acknowledging that our homemade southern biscuits looked nothing like the photograph in the cookbook, I cut one open to find that the inside wasn’t flaky and fluffy. Rather, the dough was a little undercooked. Well, maybe a lot. Yes, I ate it anyway.
Taking another biscuit, I examined the exterior before mutilating -uh, make that pulling apart – the inside. Those biscuits were so much like my life, I realized.
Rather than take the time to start my day the right way with prayer and five minutes of Bible reading, I frequently start my day in a rush and, hours later, I wonder why it is so unfocused and helter-skelter.
Then, when trouble and difficulty hit, I find myself not properly prepared to handle it – all because I’ve neglected taking ten peaceful minutes to start my day focused on my heavenly Father. Just like biscuits that turn out flat and undercooked because I was in a hurry when I skimmed through the recipe, my life isn’t full and rich the way God intended it to be when I ignore Him.
I licked the last of the Georgia sorghum off my fingers and picked up my Bible that sat in full view on the coffee table.
Ten fulfilling minutes of Godly focus— or a day of raw, lumpy dough.
Are you making wise choices every morning when you wake up?
Great riches are in the house of those who are right with God, but trouble is what the sinful will receive. Proverbs 15:6 (NLV)
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photographs by Cynthia Howerter © 2013Read More
It’s amazing what can happen to a nation in the span of about a week, and the span of that week isn’t quite over. We are in the aftermath of a natural disaster that has affected thousands of Americans’ lives and simultaneously in the face of a critical national election. All around us are people who are mourning the tragedy that has befallen us and at the same time fearing what may be to come.
What can we say, dear sisters? The tragedy of Hurricane Sandy is widespread and runs deep, and the physical, spiritual, and moral needs of our nation seem on many days to be a bottomless pit. We would sink in despair if we thought we had to climb our way out of this pit, but as followers of Christ, we have a different understanding on the situation, both in our nation and around the world. We participate in our government and we pray for our leaders, but we don’t count on them to meet our needs; we have a God in heaven who has adopted us, and He is able to provide for His children. We get involved in the relief efforts and we reach out to those who have lost much to the hurricane, but we also don’t take on the burden to rebuild people’s lives; we point them to the Savior, who is mighty to save and able to put all of the pieces of their lives back together.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God (Psalm 20:7). Lift up His name. Call upon His name. He is Bread for the hungry, Living Water for the thirsty, Wisdom for the confused, the Alpha and Omega for those who need a new start in life, the Shepherd for those who need direction, the King of Kings for all who long for the security of bowing the need to a trustworthy leader. He is Lord. He is God. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken (Psalm 62:2).
Will you take time now to pray for the people of our nation and to ask God to give Christians a great measure of courage today?
Thank you, Kimberly Sowell, for your sage words today. Please visit Kimberly’s website, “His Heart” at: http://kimberlysowell.wordpress.com
IN GOD WE TRUST
Do you have a special place where you go when you need a break from life? Perhaps it’s a nearby park or a quiet room. The place my soul longs to visit when life delivers too many problems is near the foot of Chestnut Mountain in northeast Georgia.
During our long bout of unemployment, I found myself in desperate need of sanctum. Completely spent, I packed a suitcase and a borrowed laptop into my car and drove alone from Pennsylvania to Georgia. The 13-hour drive allowed me to put distance between devouring stresses and endless problems. Mile after mile sent heart-felt prayers to the Creator, alternately calling for God’s help and praising Him for spectacular sights as I drove between ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains, heading due south. Near Asheville, North Carolina, my car began the climb into mountains so beautiful, my weariness from 11 hours behind the steering wheel was forgotten.
Having left Pennsylvania in the middle of a sticky summer sunrise, I arrived at Chestnut Mountain with enough time before sunset to climb to the summit and absorb views capable of resuscitating my spirit.
I awoke early the next morning and after filling a mug with steaming coffee and covering my shoulders with a blanket, I slipped outside to the screened-in porch where I sank into a cold, damp cushion on the seat of a rocker. Thick white fog blanketed the valley meadows and veiled the mountains to the west. It wasn’t until the first rays of morning sun climbed over the peak of Chestnut Mountain that the shroud slowly dissolved and revealed the uneven peaks of timeless mountains that Cherokees once called home.
The mug warmed my hands while I breathed in the sweet smells of summer grass and clover that grow in the field between the house and the creek. My shoulders lost some of their tension and my bare feet, pressing against the floor, pushed the rocker in a soothing rhythm. Outside, my ears hear best when my eyes are closed. I turned my head slowly from side to side, the sound of creek water tumbling over rocks rode across the tall field grass and became my porch companion.
But this was only part of what I sought.
Needing more coffee, I tiptoed inside. The house was reverently quiet. Carefully holding the too-full mug, I picked up my Bible and returned to the porch. A vivid blue indigo bunting streaked past to the mature red oak at the edge of the garden where it landed on a moss-covered branch and began its early morning reverie. It was soon joined by phoebes and vireos.
Surrounded by a symphony, I opened the worn Book to the Psalms and asked the Lord to speak to my weary soul. Words ancient but relevant comforted, encouraged, strengthened, guided. Sanctuaries aren’t always confined.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
My God in whom I trust.”
Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY