Live or Die

In the world, most people live for themselves and live for today. The live for now lifestyle is different from how a Christian should live. The purpose of the Christian life is to do the Lord’s will and promote his glory by our life. This doesn’t mean you cannot have fun. On the contrary, it allows you to have fun without regrets or feeling ashamed.

Today’s Bible Verse:

Romans 14:8 (KJV), “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.”

What the verse means:

The purpose of the Christian life is to do the Lord’s will and promote his glory by our life. A Christin should do this because they belong to God. Not only do we belong to God in this life but we belong to him even as we are dying and after we die. The passage provides a reminder that the soul does not cease to be conscious at death. We are still the Lord’s.  Even when the body is in the grace, we are the Lords.  2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV) reminds us, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Praying using the verses:

  1. Heavenly Father, if we live, we live to the Lord. Help us live to the Lord. May you be glorified though our life.
  2. Lord Jesus, if we die, we die to the Lord. Help us to die to the Lord. Help us to remember that even in the grave we are yours.
  3. We proclaim to the world whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords. Thank you, Lord for the security we have as Believers in the Lord.

Photo Source: Pixaby

Trust

When dealing with a chronic illness sometimes it is tough to maintain focus or have peace of mind. The person battling the illness often finds themselves dwelling on what is happening to them physically, fiscally, and thinking if they’ll even have a future. It can be hard. Today’s verse gives us hope as it tells us peace of mind is available. The way to peace is to focus on God, not your problem. It is to trust God.

Today’s Bible Verse:

Isaiah 26:3 (KJV), “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

What the verse means:

The key word trust. We have a requirement to trust God. Trusting in God, when our mind is focused on Him, not our troubles allow us to kept in God’s perfect peace.

Praying using the verses:

  1. Heavenly Father, help us to keep our mind steadfast on You.
  2. Thank you for the peace of mind that can only come from God.
  3. Lord Jesus, help us to take our refuge in You.
  4. God, we know you are our only hope in battling our chronic illness.

Photo Source: Pixaby

Nothing Routine About The Writer’s Life

Today is Wednesday, December 6, 2017. It was a chilly 45 degrees on my front porch this morning.

My Wednesday schedule is different from other days of the week. I arrive at my favorite coffee house a little later today. It was after 7 AM. They barista poured my tall cup of blonde roast coffee for me and I retired to my cold weather seat. On colder days I sit in the back of the coffee house away from the windows and door. This table has me away from the cold.

I connected to the Wi-Fi and launched Facebook. I write a reply to fourteen posts. If I respond to the posts and comments of people, they are more likely to engage my future posts and comments. The Bible says if this way in the book of Proverbs, chapter 18, verse 24a, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:”

Two acquaintances stopped by my table to visit with me. One asked me about retirement preparation. He retires the end of this month. The other man engaged in causal small-talk.

Since yesterday morning I attended a webinar on social security and medicare which my financial services provider hosted. It was informative. They explained complex and unfamiliar topics in simple, understandable terms.

I listened to Joanna Penn’s interview on “The Alliance of Independent Author’s Indie Author Fringe Podcast.” The subject of the podcast was How to Be An Author Entrepreneur. A transcript of the podcast is at https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/11/29/how-to-be-an-author-entrepreneur/. The bottom-line of the podcast was the hearer answering the question, is your writing a hobby or business? If it is a business, Joann Penn gave practical how-to steps on how to manage your writing business.

I also listened to Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn Podcast. The episode I heard was Estate Planning For Authors With M.L Buchman. A transcript of the interview is at https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/12/04/estate-planning-for-authors-with-m-l-buchman/. The bottom-line was your intellectual property rights are valuable – both to you in your lifetime, but also for 70 years after you die according to copyright law. So what happens once you’re gone? Have you ensured that your heirs and successors can still benefit? Having several books published plus being in my mid-60s, I found the podcast interesting as my work will outlive me.

I also worked on a poem I’ve had in my head for a while.

Today I have walking for my health at the mall, lunch with my best guy friend, some afternoon walking, and writing, and then Wednesday night church on my agenda. I will also write another draft chapter in my forthcoming book with the working title “In Jesus’ Name” though I am thinking of titling the book “How to Pray for the Chronically Ill.”

Have a good day and remember, if you write one page a day (that’s about 250 words), Monday through Friday, at the end of one year you will have a 240-page book!

As you can see, there is nothing routine about the writer’s life. Each day is a new adventure.

Meeting My Muse

Today is Tuesday, December 5, 2017. It was a cool 42 degrees on my front porch when I departed to meet my Muse at my local coffee house. She knows to meet there every morning at 6:30 AM.

Let me talk a little tech geek to you. Did you know after I order my tall blonde roast coffee I turn on my Google Chromebook? The computer boots up quickly (yes, I used a word ending in ly). I then use an application named “Chrome Remote Desktop” to connect to my Apple Macintosh (it’s a mini Mac) that sits on my desk in my office back home.

Why do I do this? I am working on a book titled “In Jesus’ Name.” It is the follow-up to my book “Thy Will Be Done.” Both are nonfiction books dealing with the subject of prayer and the chronically ill. My youngest son is co-writing “In Jesus Name” name. Did you know my youngest son will be graduating in May 2018 with a Masters of Theological Studies degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary?

In the days ahead I’ll be asking for your help in selecting the book cover for “In Jesus Name.”

What If There Were No C’s?

abc-2860036_1280What If There Were No C’s?

What if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s?
What if all the C’s went out on strike?
Tired of being seen by you and me as just average unlike the letters A and B.
Now here is how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

You begin your day with a ‘up of hot ‘offee while in your lap is your ‘urled up ‘at.
Then later you ‘ould take your dog for a walk
While wearing your favorite ball ‘ap to keep the sun out of your eyes
Unless of ‘ourse, dark stormy ‘louds filled the sky.

On to the park where the ‘hildren and ‘anines go to play
Where you li’k an i’e ‘ream ‘one bought from a man pushing a ‘art.
While sitting in the park table’s ‘hair you ‘arefully observe the ‘ars
Driving down the street wondering about the driver’s worries or ‘ares.

A gust of wind makes you need to retrieve your ‘ap that just blew off your head.
Your hair now a mess needs ‘ombed but instead of ‘ombing it the ‘ap you wear
The favorite team’s ‘ap does its job of hiding your unkempt hair.
And you let your dog lead you ba’k to the house.

Ba’k inside your ‘ondominium a box of ‘andy ‘alls your name.
The temptation is too hard to resist so you pi’k a ‘ho’olate that’s ‘herry filled
Get a ‘up of hot ‘appu’’ino and sit on the ‘ou’h.
Then into your lap jumps the ‘at and she quickly ‘urls up.

Finally, resting in his home he re’alls his manners,
And remembers to remove his ‘ap, and loves on his ‘urled up ‘at.
Now you know how it would be if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s
Because you’ve seen how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written for my granddaughter Aurora
Written during November – December 2017

 

Shamelessly Promoting a Friends Book (It Deserves Promoting!)

As Time Goes By, we learn to value the gift of each new today.

Inside Mixed Blessings–As Time Goes By, you’ll find one-hundred-and-one perfectly bite-sized stories, articles, devotions, and poems, on these ten time-related topics:

  • Minutes
  • 24-Hours
  • Weeks
  • Seasons
  • Years
  • Centuries
  • Era
  • Time-Consuming
  • Once in a Blue Moon
  • Eternity

There is something for every reader in a Mixed Blessings book, and this volume is no exception. Mixed Blessings–As Time Goes By is filled to the brim with fun, encouragement, food for thought, and inspiration. You may find yourself chuckling one moment and shedding a tear the next. In fact, it is the perfect mix of blessings for your daily reading enjoyment.

Take time out of all the busyness of life to enjoy this variety-packed pick-me-up, but be warned. Reading a Mixed Blessings book is like eating peanuts. You just can’t stop at one.

Hearing

When we face a chronic illness too often, we rush in and try to accomplish everything in our own power. We manage this. We plan that. We listen to friend A or to family member B. We may hear different recommendations from our healing team, that is the doctors, ministers, and caregivers. We need to seek God and listen for his voice. We do this through prayer, Bible reading, and listening to sermons. Sometimes were are in such a rush to get to a solution or get things under control that we miss hearing from The Great Physician. We need to remember the words of Psalm 46:10 (KJV), “Be still, and know that I am God:” Sometimes we need to be still before we can hear God.

Today’s Bible Verse:

Psalm 143:8 (KJV) “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

What the verse means:

As we face trials and hardships, we can find ourselves overwhelmed. When we become inundated by fear, grief, depression, and self-pity, it becomes hard to hear God. Today’s verse reminds us to spend time with God, to begin our day with God.  As Christians, we can trust God. We can ask him to both guide us and to lift us up.

Praying using the verses:

  1. Heavenly Father, draw us to you in the morning where we can hear thy righteousness.
  2. Lord Jesus, we place our trust in thee. Help us to always put all our trust in Thee.
  3. We ask your Holy Spirit to speak to our spirit to guide us in the way we should walk.
  4. We pray you would lift our her soul unto thee.
  5. Pray for our children and grandchild to be drawn to You, experience You and choose to attend worship services.
  6. Pray for a day of rest.

Photo Source: Pixaby

Tuesday Morning at Starbucks

My Favorite Coffee House

Coming Here to Write

Howdy yall. It is Tuesday morning, November 28, 2017. I’m sitting at my favorite table at the Starbucks at 2201 Preston Road in Plano, Texas. Located next to the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore, I’ve been coming here to write in the morning for years.

I wake up every morning just before 5:00 AM. I do the personal hygiene stuff, dress, and drive the ten miles from my cookie-cutter suburban house to my favorite coffee dispensary. I usually arrive between their opening at 6 AM and 6:30 AM. I have a cup of their blonde roast or Pike’s Place coffee most days.

Why This Coffee House?

I know what you are thinking. Why this coffee house?

The bottom line is I like it. It is small, does not have a drive-through, has excellent customer service, and doesn’t get upset if I take up my table for 3 to 5 hours.

When I started stopping at this Starbucks, my motivation was two-fold. First was the location. It is located about halfway between my home and my now retired from the day job. Second, my goal was to write for 60 to 90 minutes before continuing my trek on to the day job. You see, I am a writer.

Give the Best Part of My Day to Writing

Over the years I was able to write a book every 9 to 12 months in this coffee house. I would give the best part of the day to my writing. Because of my regular attendance “the muse” knew when and where to find me. I started this near-daily routine when I was in my late 40s. Now in my mid-sixties and retired from the day job I return each morning to the same table.

I’ve also encountered a half-dozen store managers, over a hundred baristas, and learned there is a core group of regulars. A running club meets here every Tuesday and Friday morning. They arrive about ten minutes until 6 AM. At 6 AM sharp they start their morning run. It is a group of 12 to 15 with ages spanning from the thirties to the early seventies. They run for an hour and then have coffee and fellowship. I can call by name more than 50 regular patrons of this Starbucks. Most days you can set your clock by the time they arrive to get their daily caffeine.

Solving the Problems of the World

I write first drafts of books, blog posts, magazine articles, short stories, and poetry while ingesting my daily two cups of caffeine.

After writing I often solve the problems of the world in discussions with some of the men and women. I have built relationships with people. From time to time some of the people have called, texted, or shared spiritual needs with me. I have prayed with some of the patrons before their surgeries or when they are hurting from family relationship issues.

A Christian Worldview

I am a Christian and see things through a Christian worldview that many don’t have. I have been allowed to share my Christian testimony many of these same people.

No, I am not a perfect, in your face Bible thumper. I am far from it. Too often I am a hypocrite and fail in following God’s principles. I just get up each day, confess my sin and try again.

What Do I Write?

What do I write? I write religious nonfiction and religious science fiction. I also write historical/literary fiction under a pen name.

Most mornings after writing I either head to the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve or The Shops at Willow Bend shopping mall and walk for 45 minutes to an hour. Afternoons find me doing the business of writing with marketing, editing, etc.

 

Fear

A normal feeling for one facing a chronic illness is fear. The unknown and uncertainty are scary. The very word cancer often has death or at least its possibility confronting us.  If it is rheumatoid arthritis you picture pain and decreased mobility or use of joints.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that God is with us. We do not face today or tomorrow alone.

Today’s Bible Verse:

Isaiah 41:10 (KJV), “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

What the verse means:

The verse’s meaning is best seen when examined in context with two preceding verses. Isaiah 41:8-10 (KJV), “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

The whole passage is one of great tenderness. I am with thee (that is, God is with you). I (God) will strengthen you (now and in the future). I have strengthened you (in times past). There is a reminder that God has chosen you). We see a declaration of past favors as well as prophetic words for future favors since God is unchanging.

Praying using the verses:

  1. Heavenly Father, we fear not because You are here with us as we fight our affliction.
  2. We are not heartbroken or dismayed because we know You are our God.
  3. We rejoice and claim Your promises that You will strengthen us.
  4. We rejoice and claim Your promises that You will help us.
  5. We rejoice and claim Your promises that You will uphold us with the right hand of Your righteousness.
  6. We continue to pray for a hedge of protection for our loved one or even ourself, both in the workplace and during treatments.

Photo Source: Pixaby

The Coffeehouse Culture

Are you part of the coffee house culture? I confess I am.

What Is The Coffeehouse Culture?

The coffeehouse culture describes a friendly environment of associated common practices that depend upon coffee. Coffee is used as a social lubricant much as alcohol is in a bar or pub setting.

Coffeehouse culture also relates to the dispersion and choosing of coffee as a broadly consumed stimulant by society. In the late 20th and early 21st century, particularly in the Western world and urbanized cities around the globe. Espresso has become a more favored form.

Formation of Culture Around a Coffeehouse

I am a historian and religious educator by university and seminary education. With my classical liberal arts education, I developed an inquisitive mind. My curiosity had me research coffeehouses. I found the formation of the culture around coffee and coffeehouses dates back to 14th century Turkey. Coffeehouses in Western Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean were traditionally social hubs, as well as artistic and intellectual centers.

Examples of famous coffee houses include Les Deux Magots in Paris. Now a popular tourist attraction, it was once associated with the intellectuals Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. In the late 17th and 18th centuries, coffeehouses in London became favorite meeting places for artists, writers, and socialites. They were also the center for much political and commercial activity.

In the United States, the New Orleans French Market tourist destination Café du Monde which is as famous for its powdered-sugar-coated beignets as it is for its chickory-flavored coffee., according to the popular social check-in app Foursquare, is the most popular coffeehouse in the Americas.

Coffeehouses Today

Elements of today’s coffee houses, the slower paced gourmet service, tastefully decorated environments, or social outlets such as open microphone nights, have their origins in early coffee houses and continue to form part of the concept of coffee house culture.

In the United States, the term is often used to designate the everywhere presence of hundreds of espresso stands and coffee shops in the Seattle metropolitan area and the spread of franchises of businesses such as Starbucks and their clones across the United States.

Other aspects of the coffeehouse culture include the presence of free wireless Internet access for customers, many of these patrons do business in these locations for hours on a regular basis. The patrons of the coffeehouse usually do one of three things. They either are on Wi-Fi surfing the Internet with their smartphone or computer, are meeting with a business client or friends, or are reading. The location is popular for meeting someone for the first time, especially when dating is being considered.

Some countries, like Australia, have a strong existing cafe style coffee culture. The strong cafe style coffee culture explains the poor performance of Starbucks there.

Yes, I am part of the coffeehouse culture? Are you?

I would love you to leave in the comments section the name of and info about your favorite coffeehouse.

Source: Some material adapted from Wikipedia

Photo: Starbucks,  1356 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, California, USA