What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sermon Notes: Stuck In Between

In case you didn't know it, this week is Thanksgiving!
(Sermon Notes 11/18/18)
It seems as though Thanksgiving is being forgotten, stuck in the middle between Halloween and Christmas. If you went to the stores in August and September and October, you saw lots and lots of Halloween decorations and costumes.  And then about mid-way through October (or maybe even sooner) they started putting out Christmas decorations.  If you looked hard enough, you might find a few things that had to do with Thanksgiving, but not really very much. It was either Fall or Christmas, but not much emphasis on Giving Thanks.


Perhaps we don't think we have much to thank God for...perhaps the material world has gotten to us, and we don't stop and think about where everything came from...or to Whom we should give thanks.


Our scripture for today is:

Psalm 100 (NKJV)
1.  "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
2.  Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.


3.  Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us,

and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,

and into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

5.  For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
and His truth endures to all generations."

God warned the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:10-11 not to forget Him when they entered into the land which He had given them:

10.  "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.
11.  Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today..."
(you can read the rest of that chapter for the full story)

God is not just talking to the Israelites in the 100th Psalm...see verse 1:
"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, ALL YOU LANDS!"

And He is not just speaking to the people in Bible times...see verse 5:
"For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
and His truth endures to ALL GENERATIONS."


The Meriam Webster definition of Thanksgiving is:

1. a: capitalized : THANKSGIVING DAY
b: a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness
2: the act of giving thanks
3: a prayer expressing gratitude

  • When we live with an "attitude of gratitude" it has been said that those who frequently feel grateful have more energy
  • Are less likely to become depressed
Don't leave your "attitude of gratitude" at the Thanksgiving table.
Acknowledge and remember that God has blessed us in mighty, mighty ways

Sometimes we get in the habit of complaining instead of expressing our thankfulness.
We have become so spoiled.  When we have to take an airplane flight somewhere instead of exclaiming about the miracle of "Wow! We're Flying!", we instead complain about how cramped the seats are, or the long lines we had to wait in at the airport, or that the WiFi didn't work on the plane...Things that we never even heard of not too many years ago, and now we are so spoiled we complain and gripe when we are delayed or uncomfortable for an hour or so.

People in Jesus' time were no different...In the book of John chapter six, just after Jesus performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two small fish,  the next day Jesus said to the multitude who chased after Him to the other side of the sea, 

in John 6:26-27
"Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
27.  Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life,
which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."
The people came with an attitude of entitlement, expecting Jesus to keep feeding them, rather than acknowledging and giving thanks for the miracle of the blessing of the bread from heaven, which does not perish, but gives everlasting life.

The Biblical antidote to a complaining, demanding spirit is 
  • to give thanks...express thanksgiving to God
  • Read God's Word daily
  • come together as a community of faith to encourage one another
  • Draw closer to God
Recognize that we are all flawed, but when we do these things we will see that this will become the basis for our Thanksgiving.  When we begin to praise God and give Him thanks for all He has done we will find that our "attitude of gratitude" will become the norm rather than the exception.

Here are some words to reflect on as we enter this week of "Thanksgiving":

"Holy God, we thank You for the promise of Your Presence.
You call us to be part of Your new creation.
Loving Christ, we celebrate Your call to join You in God's new creation.
We come to join the harvest,
to help carry Your news out into the world.
Empowering Holy Spirit, we give thanks that You encourage us to respond with joy.
Come fill us now, as we gather to share Your Presence in the bread and cup."

Ephesians 1:3
"God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

Amen! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Please Note : I want to repeat this disclaimer here...the notes, outline, and content included here are based upon my own personal understanding of the message that was being given.  I am not attempting to completely quote or reproduce this message or any other message I've shared previously.  Just as each person reading these notes may glean insights and thoughts that seem to directly apply to one's own situation and interpretation, my own delivery of these messages is skewed by my hearing and translation of what is being said.  Some may read my notes here and wonder if they were hearing the same message as I...and I say, God speaks to each of us as He wills...there are things He is trying to get across to each individual that may be entirely different than what the person sitting next to you in the pew is needing to hear...  That is how the Holy Spirit works! He knows what we need to hear and how to apply it to our hearts.  So it is with that understanding that I present these sermon notes to you.

Sermon Notes: FUMC Interlachen, FL, Pastor A.C. Myers, 11/18/2018

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday Foto Friends-Joyful Trees and Other Beauties

"Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.


For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.

He shall judge the world with righteousness,

And the peoples with His truth."
Psalm 96:12-13

We took a ride this past week to a little town on the other side of the St. John's River, to visit some dear people at a church where my husband used to be the pastor. They had invited him to come and speak at a "Seniors Luncheon" ...JOY...Just-Older-Youth, they call themselves, and afterwards we enjoyed a marvelous pot-luck luncheon.  I'd say we were definitely in luck with that luncheon...such great cooks they have at that church! It was a wonderful time of singing, preaching, and eating.  The pictures above were taken as we drove around that little community,..the town is known for its fern business, supplying ferns to the florists of the nation.  The top pictures are of a natural hammock of oak trees with the ferns growing underneath their shade. So beautiful, don't you think?

The picture below is of the church parsonage next door, where the pastor lives. That is where we lived when we served at that church almost 20 years ago! (Time sure flies!) We weren't there for very long, but yet we made such long lasting friendships there...some very special people. So thankful for the privilege of serving the Lord there.


"Oh sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day."
Psalm 96:1-2


This little mockingbird likes to perch on the tree right outside our bathroom window. I love the expression on his face as he is looking in at me looking out at him! 
I wonder what he is thinking? Maybe I should ask you to caption this...

And speaking of looking out the windows, this is what I saw this morning (Thursday) when I looked out our front windows to our front yard:


What a wonderful way to start the day!!

In this picture below the deer had all run over to the far side of the yard as a truck drove by on the road. They were ready to leap into the woods and hide if that truck had gotten any closer...

After the truck passed by, the leader of the herd went to the road to check both ways before they decided to move on down the road themselves... (I love that one little deer who always seems to know I'm watching them)

And there they go!

Back to the back yard fence we go...I came home today from a ladies' luncheon (forgot to take pictures!)  and found these "new friends" sitting on the fence posts...Our neighbor loves to tease us with these things he finds at yard sales and he wants to share them with us so he leaves them on the fence posts for us to enjoy.  I think I need to tell him that we are trying to downsize and get rid of things, but I don't want to hurt his feelings. He is a dear soul and this is his way of having fun...so we are playing along and having fun with this...
 "Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!


Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with Thanksgiving;

Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms."
Psalm 95:1-2

I hope that each of you will have a marvelous Thanksgiving...hard to believe that is next week already! I know it will be a busy week for all, so we will catch up with each other as we are able.  The important thing is BE Thankful in all things!! We are a very blessed people. Please Pray for the people in California who have lost their homes, and also for those in Mexico Beach, FL and Panama City, FL, who are all suffering the loss of their homes and many also who have lost loved ones. May God be merciful to them and send the help that they need. Amen.

Now let us venture over to Deb's place at Breathing in Grace and visit our other Friday Foto Friends.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Sermon Notes: "Feast or Famine?"


Our sermon passage came from Luke 5:27-38.  The pictures are from my neighborhood, and I thought in some ways they kind of go along with the scriptures.  Let's see:

27:  "After these things He (Jesus) went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office.  And He said to him, "Follow Me."

28.  So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.


29.  Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house.  And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them.  
30.  And the scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"

31.  Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
32.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."


33.  Then they said to Him, "Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?"

34.  And He said to them, "Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them?


35.  But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days."


Notes:

  • Jesus said, "Get up and follow Me" to Levi (who became known as Matthew) the Tax Collector. 
  • Levi invited Jesus to a feast.
  • The first thing Levi did was introduce others to Jesus.  He didn't wait around, nor did he have to be told to do this.  He wanted others to meet this Man called Jesus.
  • John Wesley said "No one person ever went to heaven alone"..You either find friends, and you introduce them to Jesus, and they introduce others to Jesus...and you will take them with you to heaven!
  • Jesus came along and came into the lives of lepers, tax collectors and sinners. Then someone called the Pharisees and complained that Jesus was eating and drinking with sinners.
  • Jesus told them that "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
  • Jesus was saying to treat others as loved ones...we CAN make a difference. 
  • Share the love of Jesus with them.
  • Jesus' party looked like a bus stop...all kinds of people. He brought everybody in...all sat down together...and that upset the Pharisees who were the "keepers of the law".
  • Jesus gives us a Messianic Banquet where everyone is invited.
  • When we get involved with Jesus, times are changing...the bus is filled with sinners and He changes them...He makes all things and all hearts new.
In verses 36-38 we see a "New" parable...and I think I finally understand it better than ever before.
  • 36.  "No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.
  • 37.  And no one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.
  • 38.  But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.
When we accept the free offer of salvation that comes from knowing Jesus Christ, we become a new creature in Christ.  (see II Corinthians 5:17).  Jesus is not a legalist. Christianity is all about GRACE...love, forgiveness...new life springing up out of death.  When we become a New Creature in Christ, we can't go back to the old ways of trying to earn our salvation by keeping the old law. 

When we live our lives for Christ, we can't be gloomy at the "wedding celebration". It is time to celebrate.  We do everything to glorify Christ. We seek God's face and His vision for us as we reflect on our "new life".  What is God about to do?

  • The Pharisees tried to fit Jesus into their way of thinking, but He just didn't fit.  
  • Jesus is doing NEW things all the time.
  • Will we allow ourselves to be changed and renewed every day?
  • God is doing new things...are we going to join the "party", or pout because these "Christians" are doing something different?
  • Will you allow yourself to be changed, renewed...or will you stick with the old?
Dear Lord, please go before us. Prepare the way. You've called us to the celebration. Invite us in, and help us to welcome others to the feast.

"God prepares the table for us, offering us a feast of abundant love.  Our cups overflow with the bounty of grace for our Shepherd knows us as no one else can...restoring our souls, healing our brokenness, nourishing us with bread and cup for the life of ministry. Come to the table and feast with the Shepherd."  

Please Note : I want to repeat this disclaimer here...the notes, outline, and content included here are based upon my own personal understanding of the message that was being given.  I am not attempting to completely quote or reproduce this message or any other message I've shared previously.  Just as each person reading these notes may glean insights and thoughts that seem to directly apply to one's own situation and interpretation, my own delivery of these messages is skewed by my hearing and translation of what is being said.  Some may read my notes here and wonder if they were hearing the same message as I...and I say, God speaks to each of us as He wills...there are things He is trying to get across to each individual that may be entirely different than what the person sitting next to you in the pew is needing to hear...  That is how the Holy Spirit works! He knows what we need to hear and how to apply it to our hearts.  So it is with that understanding that I present these sermon notes to you.

Sermon Notes from FUMC, Interlachen, FL., 11/11/2018, Pastor A.C. Myers.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Pursue Peace ~ Updated from 11/11/2016

11/10/2018:  This is what I wrote two years ago, just after the 2016 Presidential election. You would think that two years would make a big difference, but sadly it doesn't seem to have gotten much better even with this most recent mid-term election this past week. Praying that our nation can find some common ground and come together to "pursue peace with all people..."

Original Post 11/11/2016:
"Pursue peace with all people,
and holiness, 
without which no one will see the Lord:
Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;
lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble,
and by this many become defiled."
Hebrews 12:14-15

A couple of days after the election and it feels like the Civil War is about to be reignited.  It's not about slavery and state's rights...but about how people feel about the presidential election results. Families and friends are being pitted against one another as those who are disappointed in the presidential choice are spouting out their anger and hatred with such vehemence and bitterness, even to the point of some people rioting and injuring innocent bystanders. 

My Facebook page was filled with so much unbelievable,vitriolic rhetoric that I had to literally get up and leave the house before I was tempted to say things that I shouldn't.  No election or national event should ever be allowed to come between loved ones and friends.  Surely we have learned that lesson from history, haven't we?

So, I grabbed my camera and my husband and said, "Let's go find someplace to walk and take some pictures of something peaceful before I get myself into trouble here."  We ended up at a couple of my favorite ponds out in the woods...and here are some pictures to hopefully help you find a place of peace in your world today:






This peaceful setting is where I'd love to build a little cabin someday...but that is just a dream as this is on National Forest land, and therefore not for sale.  But one can dream, can't they?






I will close with this picture...do you notice anything unique about this lovely old live oak tree? If you look just beyond the kind of blotchy white and gray tree trunk in the foreground, can you see the heart in the oak tree?  This wasn't apparent by looking at the tree from where I stood...it was only when I looked at the picture that I could see the heart....and I knew that was God's special message to us for today...

"But above all these things put on love
which is the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to which also you were called in one body;
and be thankful."
Colossians 3:14-15

Ah, yes!  Put on LOVE...and let the PEACE OF GOD RULE IN YOUR HEARTS...and BE THANKFUL!  Sounds like good advice to me...what about you?

Okay, maybe ONE more picture!  After our walk around the ponds we decided to go to our favorite local restaurant for an early lunch.  As I got out of the car, I couldn't help but notice this beautiful pink rose blooming beside the building. So I went back and got my camera, and just as I was focusing on the rose, this bumblebee buzzed right in front of me and landed on the rose as I snapped the picture.  I guess you could call him  the "Photo Bomber Bee".   Thought you could use a little smile today.


Have a blessed day, my friends...and Pursue Peace with ALL people...even those who may disagree with you! Amen?


Oh, and by the way, Happy Veteran's Day to all of our amazing veterans.  We thank God for you and all you have sacrificed to make our country safe and free.  God bless you, and God bless America!!


Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday Foto Friends...This n That

 Hello Dear Friday Foto Friends! This has been a tough week for our country, with the election on Tuesday and all the negativity of that which just keeps on going and going and going, and then the very horrific shooting in California...such a heartbreaking situation there.  More than ever our nation needs to come together and pray.  It is time to put aside our differences and try to work together in peace and harmony, to make a better future for our children and children's children.


I am writing this on Thursday afternoon...just trying to lighten things up a bit with some photos from in and around my neck of the woods.

I told you about "Bobby the Squirrel" a few weeks ago HERE.  Remember? I found him at my mother-in-law's house, which is currently being renovated and prepared for sale, and I brought him home to live with us.  Well, it appears that one of our backyard squirrels has discovered "Bobby", and is very curious about him.

I watched this little squirrel go up and down that tree several times, and each time he came back to where he could get a closer look at "Bobby".  I believe he was trying to figure out how to jump over to join him in the bird bath, but he was just a little bit afraid.  It really was funny to watch.  I've noticed that the birds don't seem to mind having "Bobby" there. They often come and perch on his head and then jump into the bath to get a drink.  Bobby seems to have found a happy home here.

Speaking of my mother-in-law's house, the work is done, and we will soon be putting a "For Sale" sign in the yard. Here is the finished product:  Front

And back yard:

Some of "Nanny's" roses blooming in the back yard

Her sons, my brother in law and my hubby...kind of a bittersweet moment together, realizing they will probably never be back in this house together again.  It looks a lot different now than it did, as my brother in law has done a complete make-over of the house...floors, kitchen, paint, bathrooms, etc., so it doesn't look much like it did when Nanny lived there.

My favorite thing that was done was putting the kitchen sink under this window. Originally it was facing a wall, which never made sense to me. Now the new owner will be able to enjoy looking out the window at the beautiful back yard while she works.

The new kitchen has many more cabinets and is more functional. Also has a dishwasher, which Nanny never had...and a built in microwave and self-cleaning oven. She never was much for "modern conveniences".  She liked doing things the old-fashioned way.

(This picture was just updated to show different new countertops. The first one was with countertops that were not done to the quality we wanted, so these  are the new ones. Much better!!)

The dining room has a new patio door, new light fixture, and new flooring throughout the whole house.

It is our prayer that whoever buys this little house will love it as much as "Nanny" did. She truly loved her home and was very sad when she couldn't live there any more. Below are just a couple of old pictures of happy days at her house. The first was Easter, and the grand- kids were going to have an Easter egg hunt in the front yard.


And here's a happy picture of Nanny in her house with most of her grandchildren, celebrating her birthday, again this was several years ago...  Nanny is now in her heavenly home, and she's not missing this little house anymore.  But we will always miss her laughter and smile and how she loved us all so much.

Okay, back to the present.  I thought these yellow wildflowers growing along side the pond in my neighborhood were bright and cheerful...
 They just made me smile as they lifted their faces to the morning sun...

And this lily was getting ready to open it's petals to the sun as well...

Speaking of moving right along...I saw this house being moved this week ...

They are doing road construction in the little town that we are planning to move to, and someone decided they wanted to save  this old house rather that have it demolished to make way for the new road.  I don't know where it is headed, but would love to see it when it is relocated to its new "home".

Speaking of neighborhood and neighbors...remember when I shared with you about the little bear on the fence?(check HERE for that story)  Well, it seems this has become a new event on our fence post...The other day this appeared on the fence...and what fun we have had with Mr. Crabby since then.  My neighbor just thought we might enjoy having this fella, so that is what we've done. Mr. Crabby has shown up in the strangest places inside our house ever since...under pillows, in sock drawers, among the bathroom towels, in a lunch box...you never know when or where Mr. Crabby might show up next!

 And then today I looked out on the fence and discovered this lovely bride and groom...well, they are a little disheveled...apparently they've spent some time in a box of sawdust or something, and her lace veil is a bit worn...but they still look like a lovely couple, don't you think? I've since cleaned them up and who knows where they may end up?



Maybe right here on my kitchen windowsill, next to the newlyweds who will celebrate their 1st anniversary this coming Sunday!!

And last, but not least, some of you may have already seen this photo on my Facebook this past week, but this rather thin looking bear came crossing by this week, checking out our for sale sign:
 I wonder if he was wanting to check into the "Bear Crossing B&B" guest room that I had just set up the night before...


I guess he took this sign seriously that is in our front yard...

Well, even though he didn't come inside, he looks happy anyway!!!


Okay, I guess that's enough for this week's Friday Foto Friends.  I want to stop and count my blessings for the week...
1.  Our health...never want to take it for granted. Hubby has been having a few little tests here lately, and so far so good, and we just want to praise the Lord for our continued good health.
2.  Our family...we are so blessed to have a very loving family...even when we all don't agree on everything politically, we can discuss without resorting to hurting one another's feelings...and still come out of our discussions knowing that our bond of family love is much stronger than any political agenda or issue.
3.  Our church...Precious people who are becoming more like family to us every week as we get better acquainted.  So thankful for the loving affirmations we are receiving from people who seem genuinely happy that we are there worshiping with them. What a blessing this has been for us.
4.  Also thankful for how our church has encouraged our "kids" while our daughter in law is recuperating from her surgery...they continue to bring meals and show love to them in so many ways. This has been such a marvelous gift of love.

Okay folks. Let's cross over to Deb's place at Breathing in Grace and check up on our other friends to see what they've been seeing this week through the lens of the camera!!  Have a blessed a glorious week.  And please pray for our nation, our President, and all our newly elected congressmen and Senators, Governors, etc.  Our Gubernatorial and Senator race here in Florida is still up in the air and there will be a recount apparently. Please pray that this will be done fairly and without incident.