Interview with Sheena L Smith

I found a review on Sheena L Smith’s book, “Life Simply Put”, and reflected on her thoughts, then compared living now with how our first Christian ancestors lived.

They had little by today’s comparison… but vast riches in terms of faith, trust and happiness. Their joy was elsewhere but I found myself asking – how is it possible to look heavenward in joy when weighed down by cares.

I invite you to consider Sheena’s book, her thoughts may help you.

Shalom

Susan

Picture of Sheena L Smith
Sheena L Smith

Interview with Sheena…

Susan: What is the working title of your book?

Sheena “Life Simply Put: 18 Simple Words for an Abundant Life”

Susan: Where did the idea come from for the book?

Sheena It came from me thinking and wondering what would I tell my 6 children about life. What have I learned can help an individual have a great life. What’s important to know about life, about treating others, about being happy.

Susan:  What genre does your book come under?

Sheena It is under non-fiction: self-help, personal transformation

Susan:  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Sheena It would have to be someone funny and adventurous. Maybe Jennifer Aniston.

Susan:  What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sheena I hope that by reading it you will be inspired to dream big, laugh often and live a life full of adventure and truth.

Susan:  Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

Sheena My book is self-published. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapter/Indigo and other book venues all over the world.

Susan: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Sheena It is a short book therefore, it didn’t take long to write. What took the time, was laying it out and deciding upon the perfect pictures and quotes to go with each specific word.

Susan: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Sheena The Secret, Law of Attraction, Power of Intention are other books that my book my somewhat be compared to, although mine is more simply put.

Susan: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Sheena I was inspired to write this because of my 6 children that I treasure and would love for them to be happy with their choices and lives. I have also had a lifelong dream to write a book one day. I decided there’s no time like the present. I have a much longer book in mind –actually in rough but I knew that I needed to “learn the ropes” so to speak because I am teaching myself everything that needs to be done with my book due to limited finances. I’m happy to be learning that anyone can write a book if they are creative enough and persistent it can all come together.

Susan: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Life simply putSheena Many are using my book as a great gift for their family members and friends because it is heartfelt and unique. I am honored that it is an Amazon Best Seller and I have recently won a Gold Seal for Literary Excellence from my publisher.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has read it and said “Every page is a delight to contemplate”

I also, recently received a positive review from the US Review of Books.

Full US Review of Books Review can be found here-

http://www.theusreview.com/reviews/Life-Smith.html

It is available in soft cover and as and e-book. Available at many book venues…Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters/Indigo

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/LIFE-Simply-Put-Simple-Abundant/dp/1466923237

May happiness always be yours!

Sheena Smith

Threshing and Winnowing

There is much in the Bible about threshing and winnowing, a process that today is entirely automated. Even in the 1st century AD people did the threshing and winnowing in the ‘old-fashioned’ way.

I needed to know about this for Hold the Faith and found many sources. I also liked to picture in my mind how it was done.

It was hard work…

First the crop was reaped… then threshed.

The process of threshing was performed usually by spreading

oxenthe sheaves on the threshing-floor and causing oxen and cattle to walk repeatedly over them

On occasions flails or sticks were used to beat the grain.

There was also a “threshing instrument” which was drawn over the grain. The Hebrews called this moreg, a threshing board. It was somewhat similar to the Roman tribulum, or threshing tool.

Threshing board with stones
Those are stones

The threshing board was some invention!

Check out what Wikipedia has to say…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshing_board

After that came the winnowing…

This was done by being thrown up against the wind  and afterwards tossed with wooden scoops. The shovel and the fan for winnowing are mentioned in Ps. 35:5Job 21:18Isa. 17:13. The refuse of straw and chaff was burned.

winnowing
men winnowing grain

Hard work… for fit people

Now,  modern machinery make this a quick process. Imagine how much your loaf of bread would cost if it was made like this.

Just thinking,

Shalom

Susan

Humility, Meekness and Patience

This time I offer a guest post from John W Ritenbaugh, pastor of the Church of the Great God, adapted from a sermon he gave  on Unity, something that was important to the 1st Century AD church and should be to us also.

Thank you John

Humility is so important…

God gave Paul some help to make sure that he would stay humble.

And yet, I think that if we would all evaluate that from the time to Jesus on, there was nobody more spiritually powerful than Paul. I’m sure in comparison with other men, Paul didn’t look like he was very strong. But when God looked at him, He liked what He saw, and he was a powerful, effective servant of God.

It is so important because humility’s dominant thrust is its willingness to submit to God AND what is right and true. Some, of course, would submit willingly to death if it was going to glorify God in their doing. Therefore, it pretty much sets the tone of our relationship with Him and with others. In both cases, i.e. with God and man, the humble esteemed the other better than themselves. This quality will guard the unity of the spirit.

humility-395x363Humility or lowliness goes hand and glove with meekness. Meekness is a rather complex subject requiring many items to accurately describe it. There is an element of restraint that is evident.

The meek are kind, they are gentle, they are sensitive to others needs.
They are thoughtful. They are agreeable people.
They are not aggressive, assertive, insistent or argumentative.

They are easily approached and easy to get along with.

But again, don’t be mistaken.

The meek are not weak.

I hardly think that we would classify Jesus and Moses as being weak. But meek they were. They were firm and they were uncompromising in regard to following truth, but they did not feel constrained to overwhelm those who were aligned against them.

In the humble, there is a consciousness of emptiness, potential weakness, of helplessness, of worthlessness. But, and this is a big BUT, don’t ever get the idea that the humble are weak.

Paradoxically, the weak are among the strongest of all people on earth.

It all depends on one’s perspective. In God’s perspective these people are strong and from people’s perspective it depends on who it is that they want to impress.

Remember Atlas of mythology? He was holding the earth on his shoulder and if you can just get a picture of that, you have a pretty close approximation of what this word patient means.

Holding the world on your shoulders is hardly passive.

It requires the extending of a great deal of atlas3energy straining against the downward push of that great weight.

Patience is not just lying around there doing nothing.

It is when this word is applied to relationships that its meaning becomes very real.

Again, there is a strong sense of self-restraint, self-control. Patience means that we hold control of ourselves for a long time without giving way to our passions. It is used in Greek literature of a person who has the power to avenge himself, yet he refrains from doing so.

This word is occasionally linked with mercy in that God, who surely has the power and more than justifiable reasons to avenge Himself on us, patiently restrains Himself. In some contexts it even has the sense of being lenient in our dealings with others.

John W Ritenbaugh.

What has this to do with the novel Hold the Faith? A great deal I ( Susan) would say… because the way those first believers lived was a lot more ‘true’ to the ideal… to the examples they had been brought up to see as models – like Moses and David etc.  And they had the living example of the Son of God Himself.

What are we doing to hold the faith as demonstrated by the Son of God?

Till next time,

Shalom

Susan

A revelation from Microsoft’s Bookmark function

I discovered something interesting this morning. Before I tell you what I discovered, please let me tell you what led up to it.

Although I hadn’t been keen on it, I decided after all to publish my novel on Smashwords. That way buyers (like Geoff) didn’t have to have a Kindle. He could read it on his e-reader.

How hard could it be?

I had already formatted the original document for Kindle… surely I could just submit that.

Wrong!

I downloaded the Style guide… and found I had a whole bunch of work to do. Every section break had to be removed… and there were many of them. (It is a long book. Smashword category is epic for over 100,000 words and Hold the Faith has now more than 120,000.)

So then I moved on to the next set of alterations, and so on, and so on.

Lana thinkingWhen I reached the part that said the Microsoft Word TOC was not good and to make my own with Bookmarks and hyperlinks… I skipped the pages. Too much. The manager of the training centre where I worked until a few years ago said she could never master Bookmarks. I felt vindicated for refusing to put them in.

In the fresh light of day…

I looked at all I had done – and thought. I was risking it being rejected from their machine by not doing it properly. Mmm.

I had memorised the page on the PDF, 69, so typed that in and looked at it again. It still looked intimidating. Funny, I hadn’t had to use bookmarks in my Microsoft Word 2007 certification. Sigh.

I read the instructions again and it was still confusing.

I saved a ‘pre-bookmarks’ version of the manuscript.  I didn’t want to have to go through all those other alterations again.

Then I started.

The instructions, once I started, were so easy. They had looked like a foreign tongue but when I started doing them… it was so simple!

And that’s where the lesson came in. I have heard our ministers say ‘as we keep the commandments, we understand them.’ Or was it ‘as we keep the Holy Days we understand them’? Probably both. But that experience with Microsoft’s Bookmarks confirmed the truth of those statements.

shofar

Thank you Smashwords for a spiritual revelation.

Shalom

Susan

Whither the Holy Spirit?

Have you ever noticed that in the epistles, none of the apostles include the Holy Spirit in their opening greetings. I asked Richard Ritenbaugh, a pastor of the Church of the Great God if he would write a post on it. Below is his informative post.

Thank you Richard.

bibles

 

Most Bible students realize that most of the New Testament books are letters—epistolé in Greek and

our  “epistle,” written communication between parties. Paul’s epistles, as well as those of James, Peter, John, and Jude, are written primarily to church congregations, although a few, such as those to Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Gaius (III John), are written to individuals. An ancient letter followed a fairly strict format. It begins with the writer’s name, followed by

the recipient(s) and a greeting to him/her/them. The body of the letter ensues, and at the end, the writer closes with additional greetings and perhaps a date.

Thumbing through the salutations of the epistles brings out a curious fact: The greetings are all essentially the same. Time after time, the authors write something akin to this from Romans 1:7: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Almost all of Paul’s epistles follow this wording—perhaps with the word “mercy” thrown into the mix—and some of the others follow suit.

Of the other epistle writers, James pens a workmanlike, “James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings” (James 1:1). Peter’s first epistle simply states, “Grace to you and peace be multiplied” (I Peter 1:3), to which he appends in his second, “in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (II Peter 1:1). John dispenses with the standard greeting altogether in his first epistle, while in the second he writes one of the longest: “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (II John 1:3).

The most curious—and theologically significant—facet of these epistolary salutations is the wholesale absence of greetings from the Holy Spirit. A Bible reader brought up in traditional Christianity would expect that the so-called Third Person of the Trinity would get equal billing with the Father and the Son from the apostles, but the biblical text omits all mention of the Holy Spirit in terms of personal greetings to the churches. Is this just a mistake? An embarrassing omission? A slight?

If greetings from the Holy Spirit were absent in some but not all the salutations, we might make a case for any of these explanations, but because they are entirely absent among the greetings of twenty epistles (not counting Hebrews, which is technically a treatise) from five apostles, they make an implicit theological point: The Holy Spirit sends no greetings because there is no Third Person in the Godhead to send them! Put simply, the Father and His Son are the only divine Persons, and in grace, mercy, and peace they send their personal greetings to the church.

The clearest biblical explanation of this truth appears in John 14, where Jesus Himself provides the correct understanding:

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. . . I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. . . . If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:16-18, 23)

Jesus teaches that the Holy Spirit is not another personality but the divine essence of both the Father and the Son that comes to and resides in each of God’s chosen sons and daughters. Paul confirms this in II Corinthians 3:17, writing, “Now the Lord is the Spirit. . . .” It cannot get any clearer than that! The Holy Spirit is the mind and power of God to do His will throughout His creation, especially in those who believe and love Him.

Apostle John series…

Hold the Faith is the first in a series of novels and, so far, the only one published. My editor asked me the other day when he was going to receive the chapters for the next book in the series.

That is coming…

In the meantime I notice I have not written anything about the book that the blog is about, so this post is to rectify that ommission.

By the late first century AD Christianity had spread throughout the Roman empire. The book series finds the Apostle John living and working in Ephesus and, in the first book, travelling around the churches in what was then called Asia Minor.

christiancommunities

History is available about this 1st century period of Christianity, some, unfortunately, is contradictory.

Trying to ‘walk in the shoes’ of my Christian ancestors has been illuminating, to say the least. As far as possible, I have used words appropriate to their time. This has limited the vocabulary used, but so also has the fact the gospel of John was written in Greek which has made direct translation difficult. (No, I don’t read Greek. I still remember some of the alphabet letters though, and recognise a few words from the one attempt I made to learn.)

I have chosen to go with the Bible as a guide, where facts are documented.

The apostle John, has a well documented ‘history’, and many traditions associated with his latter years. Although he travels around the churches in this book, amusing though it is, I have not included the ‘tale’ of him ordering the bedbugs out, and that they asked permission to return to their home in the morning. One tale that is included, briefly, is the one about the apostle leaving the bathhouse because Cerinthus was there.

In this series of books, I have ‘given the apostle’ a family and followed the tradition that places him in Ephesus. He, his family, and the brethren are shown keeping the Sabbath and God’s Holy Days because until times and seasons were changed this is how, these first Christians, described in the Bible as followers of the Way, lived.

You are welcome to explore my embryonic website at http://holdthefaith.net

Shalom,

Susan